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Cover image for Edwin speaks up
Edwin speaks up

1st ed.
New York : Schwartz & Wade Books, [2011]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Before his family leaves the grocery store, Baby Edwin makes sure their grocery cart contains the last ingredient needed to make his birthday celebration complete.
Reading Level:
Ages 4-8.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader LG 3.2 0.5 144323.
Added Author:


Call Number

On Order



Here's a book that will get the whole family laughing, illustrated by the Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall. When a large family of ferrets and their precocious baby take a chaotic trip to the supermarket, mom can't keep track of the groceries, the shopping cart . . . or even the kids! Baby Edwin tries to help, but everyone thinks he's just babbling. Little do they know that he really has all the answers. Full of fun-to-say nonsense words this is a perfect storytime book and a great read-aloud.

Author Notes

APRIL STEVENS is the author of Waking Up Wendell, which received two starred reviews and was a 2008 Bank Street Best Book of the Year. Kirkus Reviews called it "as absolutely charming as a sunny morning can be." She also wrote an adult novel, Angel, Angel.

SOPHIE BLACKALL received the Caldecott Medal for  Finding Winnie  by Lindsay Mattick. She is the illustrator of  A Fine Dessert  by Emily Jenkins, a  New York Times  Best Illustrated Book; The Mighty Lalouche by Matthew Olshan, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year; and  Ruby's Wish  by Shirin Yim Bridges, an Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award winner. She has also illustrated the Mr. and Mrs. Bunny series by Polly Horvath and the bestselling Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows. A native of Australia, she lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her at SophieBlackall.com

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Mrs. Finnemore and her five ferret children set out for the supermarket. "We absolutely mustn't forget the sugar for Edwin's birthday cake tomorrow," she cautions as the siblings jockey for position in the car. They all ignore Baby Edwin, who babbles, "Figbutton noo noo POCKY BOOKY froppin ROOF." Yes, mom takes off only to learn upon arrival at the supermarket that her pocketbook is on the car roof. After this near disaster, she navigates down the aisles tossing groceries into her cart, oblivious to the chaos her children are causing, and Edwin's continuous commentary. She ignores his warning that she's inadvertently walked off with Mrs. Lutzheimer's cart, leaving him and her own groceries behind. And there's that sugar she keeps forgetting: "SWEETIN' do a bye bye," forcing Edwin to take matters into his own hands. The ink and watercolor cartoon illustrations greatly enrich the text, depicting the siblings' high jinx, Edwin covering his face in consternation at his mother's cluelessness, and his final crawl down the aisle to get his own sugar. His gibberish phrases contain just enough real words for youngsters to decipher what he is saying. And they will love the final scene in which Mrs. Finnemore drives away with the sugar on the car roof. "Roofum SWEET," Edwin says, as mom looks over and comments that baby Edwin is growing up so fast. "Soon he'll be talking." Don't miss this hilarious shopping trip.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Baby Edwin speaks up a lot, but nobody understands him. "Figbutton noo noo POCKY BOOKY froppin ROOF," he says to his mother who has left her purse on top of the car. "Gloody pooper do no LEAVEY," he shouts as his mother takes off with the wrong grocery cart, leaving him behind. There's a lot of frenetic action in this story about the ferret family's trip to the grocery store-the misbehaving antics of Edwin's four whiny brothers and sisters generate some truly anxiety-inducing scenes. Mrs. Finnemore, however, is June Cleaver serene throughout, even as her children knock over canned goods, wrestle in the store aisles, and quarrel over everything-while Edwin obviously knows exactly what's going on. Blackall's (Pecan Pie Baby) stylish illustrations feature 1950s slick cars and ballooning dresses, but what will make Stevens's (Waking Up Wendell) text a read-aloud favorite is Edwin's babbling-a humorous blend of nonsensical toddler talk and new words. Mrs. Finnemore says, "Soon he'll be talking. Can you even imagine that?" but readers will know that Edwin has been all along. Ages 4-8. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

When unflappable Mrs. Finnemore, who has her paws full with five small children, can't find the car keys or her wallet, she should pay more attention to her youngest son. He may be just a baby, but Edwin is the only one who notices that the keys are in Fergus's shoe, that his mom's purse is on top of the car, or that his distracted mother has walked off with Mrs. Lutzheimer's shopping cart (leaving Edwin stranded in their cart). He tries to tell his mother -- "Figbutton noo noo POCKY BOOKY froppin ROOF"; "Gloody pooper do no LEAVY" -- but all she hears is babbling along with his rambunctious siblings' bickering, whining, and badgering. Blackall's delicately lined illustrations, rendered in Chinese ink, watercolor, and gouache, feature a lively family of (elegantly garbed) ferrets. The straight-faced text and expressive illustrations convey the controlled chaos that accompanies the Finnemores on a trip to the supermarket and back; the restraint of both text and art make the central conflict even funnier. Listeners will appreciate being in on the joke and likely will be familiar with Edwin's plight. Baby Edwin isn't all talk: when a much-discussed key ingredient for his birthday cake doesn't make it to the checkout counter, this little critter moves quietly and decisively into action. Let's hope for the sake of Edwin's birthday that the bag of groceries survives the rooftop ride home. kitty Flynn (c) Copyright 2011. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Edwin's mother is the epitome of 1950s femininitysmartly dressed, elegantly coiffed and preoccupied with adult concerns throughout this entertaining supermarket romp.Oblivious to the rambunctious antics of Finney, Fergus, Franny and Fiona, when Mrs. Finnemore finally loads her ferret family into her sleek, powder-blue Chrysler (with anachronistic seatbelts and a car seat), she also misses the meaning of Baby Edwin's earnest babble. Therein lies the satisfaction for those who do attend to his speech bubbles. Had his mother been concentrating, she, too, would have realized that "Gloo poop SHOE noogie froo KEY" meant the car keys were in her son's shoe or that "Gimpin chalk lil wiz um SWEETIN' do a bye bye," combined with Edwin's endearingly outstretched arms, signaled that the sugar she was purchasing for his birthday cake was disappearing in someone else's cart. Blackall's highly patterned watercolor, gouache and ink scenes, infused with pink and turquoise, contrast with the white balloons surrounding his wordsa choice that focuses attention. Stevens' inclusion of potty words in the phrases will add to young listeners' surprise and delight. They will cheer Edwin on as he patiently takes matters into his own hands, occasionally glancing winsomely at his audience, even as his mother wonders when he will begin talking.This tongue-in-cheek tale of birth-order blues is a confection as sweet as it is silly.(Picture book. 4-7)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The Finnemores are ferrets, and Edwin, the baby of the family, is a babbler. Gloop poop SHOE noggie froo KEY, he comments, as Mom and the four older children try to organize themselves for a trip to the grocery store. One complication after another ensues: purses get left on the car roof, shopping carts are switched, and no one can seem to remember to pick up the sugar for Edwin's birthday cake. What sharp readers will pick up on, and what makes this so much fun, is that Edwin's gibberish is a Rosetta stone able to prevent all missteps if only someone would realize that Gimpen chalk lil wizz um SWEETIN' means Don't forget the darn sugar! Stevens' spot-on story about every mother's nightmare, the group grocery-store trip, is matched by Blackall's delicious art. One of the best picture-book artists working today, Blackall offers winsome art that is interesting in its use of perspective, perceptive in its depiction of family dynamics, and just plain adorable in its effort to make ferrets fetching. (Not always an easy task.) Parents and children will agree, this is a book that's clever in every sense of the word: skillful, original, and witty.--Cooper, Ilen. Copyright 2010 Booklist