Friday, January 13, 2017

PPBF: Edgar's Second Word

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Edgar's Second Word, by Audrey Vernick and Priscilla Burris

Edgar's Second Word

Written Audrey Vernick
Illustrated by Priscilla Burris

Clarion Books, 2014
Ages 4-7


  The books Hazel planned to read to her someday-brother waited on a special shelf.
Every night, she imagined the warm-love weight of him on her lap, and how they'd study each page together.
She read to her bunny, Rodrigo, but it wasn't the same.

Hazel is excited about the arrival of her new baby brother, but Edgar is not quite what she was expecting. Although he isn't much different than a watermelon, Hazel sits with him and reads to him, awaiting his first word. When Edgar persists in saying his first word as often and as loudly as possible, Hazel tries a variety of tactics to teach her little brother some new vocabulary. In the end, Edgar chooses his own words, and they are music to Hazel's ears.

What I Love:
Audrey Vernick has proven she knows picture books. The story is sweet without being sentimental. The characters are authentic. The story itself flows beautifully through the page turns and ends with an unexpected yet inevitable conclusion. It even includes that extra little ending-after-the-ending.

Her language is superlative. She isn't afraid of words like "conviction" or "desperate" and when the perfect word doesn't exist, Vernick makes her own. She captures the realities of babyhood. Edgar experiences "tired-baby gravity" at bedtime when he becomes "as weighty as two Edgars." Edgar acts like a real baby. And her humor is kid-friendly, read-aloud gold:

Edgar didn't speak.
Mostly, he pointed.
And grunted. 
Like a pointing, grunting watermelon. 

Specialized sibling tees available
from Purple Aspen Kids on Etsy

1. Kids Health lists some great ways to prepare your child for a new baby in the house.

2. Web MD has posted milestones for infant speech development.

3. Try teaching your baby a second language as well as a first. Basic signs and tips can be found on Baby Sign Language, a language I think all Americans should know. If you're hesitant, Baby Center has posted 5 myths about raising bilingual children.

4. Audrey Vernick offers 7 tips for writers in an interview on The Written Word.

5. Sketchables posted a creative Sketch Interview with illustrator Priscilla Burris.

6. Moments A Day suggests parents host a New Sibling Party to help older kids adjust and to make memorable moments. Include terrific sibling-themed books like Too Busy Sleeping, The Swap, or There's Going to Be A Baby.

7. Check out these and more Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Laura

Reviewed by Stacy

Reviewed by Joanne
Reviewed by Carrie

Reviewed by Beth
Reviewed by Tracy

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for Friday, January 13, 2017, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. What a sweet story. I'm going to have to read it to find out what his first word is. I love Hazel's excitement about Edgar's birth and all her plans for him. Then reality hits, but she persists with reading to him!

    1. Hazel is a great character we don't see often. She loves her brother unconditionally, but she is realistic.

  2. Well, I am sooo curious to find out what Edgar's second word is and what that unexpected but inevitable ending is. The only way to find out is to check out this book. Too bad my library doesn't open for another 45 minutes...

    1. LOL. I always try to predict the endings and I was sure I had narrowed this one down to a few possible outcomes . . . WRONG!

  3. I'm curious too - off to the library.

    1. I hope you are able to find it. Vernick's books are pretty popular. Thanks!

  4. Ha, this is too cute. Gonna check out the library and see if they are gonna get it in.

    1. It's not new, but perhaps you can convince them for the need for a fresh book about siblings. Thanks for commenting.

  5. Adorable premise. I can't wait to read all the words (in this book)!

    1. Funny! I hope you enjoy every word (unlike Hazel.) Let us know what you think.

  6. love this concept - everyone is always excited about the first word, step, whatever. But the second one, third one... they get forgotten. Except by Hazel. Great review & I love the sign language activity.

    1. Thanks. I can't see any reason why every person should not learn sign language. Of course, I'm rather biased. Thanks for your encouraging words!

  7. Joanne, this review made me SO HAPPY. Really. This poor book never really found its people and it is so gratifying to read your very kind words. Thank you!

    1. I meant every word. I love this book and have recommended it to several friends, too. Thanks for commenting. It is an encouragement to me to remember that even super-star writers like you suffer moments of anxiety over their book "babies." Thank-you so much.


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!