At the Edge of the Woods: A Counting Book


Can you count all the animals that live in the woods?

"At the edge of the woods, the grass grows tall,
the daisies dance and the blackbirds call.
One chipmunk lives in the old stone wall
at the edge of the deep, dark woods."

The chipmunk is not alone. Two spotted fawns play in the grass. Three furry foxes ...

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Can you count all the animals that live in the woods?

"At the edge of the woods, the grass grows tall,
the daisies dance and the blackbirds call.
One chipmunk lives in the old stone wall
at the edge of the deep, dark woods."

The chipmunk is not alone. Two spotted fawns play in the grass. Three furry foxes drink from the pond. And who is that coming out of the cave? Count up to ten and back again with the animals of the deep, dark woods.

A variety of animals, birds, and insects enjoy the flowers and trees of the forest early one morning.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With lilting, alliterative rhymes and the title acting as a refrain, Cotten (Snow Ponies) invites readers to spend sunrise to sunset at the perimeter of a forest, a landscape that Cartwright (Mister Potter's Pigeon) fills with ever-increasing groups of industrious and convivial inhabitants. Around midday, "At the edge of the woods, the breezes blow,/ buttercups and clovers grow/ Five buzzy bees zoom to and fro/ at the edge of the deep, dark woods." (The featured numeral appears on each spread.) Every one of Cartwright's vignettes exudes good cheer as he introduces various additional elements from the text the clover looks plump and delicious, the bees wear bright smiles and jaunty stripes as they perch atop buttercups. He distills the natural world down to simple, rounded shapes, giving them a dimensional quality of cut paper or collage. His knack for picking effective contrasting colors warm lavender, in the case of the clover adds visual punctuation to a palette dominated by greens and browns. The escalating count culminates with the march of 10 tiny ants; twilight rouses "a big, burly bear" who sends everyone scurrying into hiding (at the edge of the woods, of course) but not before a recap of all the characters and their numerals. The intruder turns out to be such an unassuming fellow, however, that readers will likely get a giggle out of the other animals' hair triggers. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-A thoroughly delightful concept book. Repetition and rhyme celebrate nature and numbers as Cotten and Cartwright combine talents to create a clever counting book with a chipmunk, fawns, foxes, lizards, bees, blue jays, mice, sparrows, butterflies, ants, and one big bear. Children will enjoy joining in on the refrain, "at the edge of the deep, dark woods." Even when hiding from the bear, the joyful creatures are more cautious than fearful. Each spread presents a number, supportive text in sharp contrast for easy reading, and animals to count. At the end, all of the groups come together; on the last spread, they hide from the bear, creating yet another counting challenge. The stylized, colorful illustrations support the text with tantalizing texture as they completely fill the pages with variety sans clutter. Libraries with too many counting books should toss out the old and tired to make room for this one.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cartwright's (Going Home, not reviewed, etc.) mossy greens, golden yellows, and smoky blues evoke a late summer in the woods as numbered sets of forest animals go about their business. A simple pattern emerges as Cotten (Snow Ponies, 2001) follows a three-line rhyme with a refrain counting up to ten: "At the edge of the woods, the treetops sway. / The sunrise brings a brand-new day. / Two spotted fawns come out to play / at the edge of the deep, dark woods." The rhyming provides a comforting rhythm to the counting, but there are no surprises here. The refrain "at the edge of the deep, dark woods" grows stale and the animals play predictable roles. A "big burly" bear breaks things up a bit as it lumbers onto the last spread causing all the other animals to hide, but ultimately lizards lounge, sparrows perch, and ants march along just as they're expected to. On the left side of several spreads, some of the animals are pictured as spot art against a white background. The rest of the creatures on the right side are pictured in a forest scene. The technique lends variety, but makes it more challenging to add up the numbers. Cartwright's lush and boldly crafted images seem to demand a more complex story, while the sing-songy rhyming and the traditional animal characters would fit more comfortably in a younger board format. Still, the peaceful forest crew and comforting color palette make this a soothing read, if not a great counting tool. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805063547
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 936,085
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.37 (w) x 10.36 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Cynthia Cotten has written several books for young readers, including This Is the Stable, Abbie in Stitches, and Snow Ponies. She grew up in Lockport, New York, a small town on the Erie Canal, where she loved playing and exploring at the edge of the woods. She didn't always know she wanted to be a writer--she dreamed of being a teacher, a marine biologist, a U.N. interpreter and a jockey--but she always loved reading. "My idea of the perfect summer vacation," she says, "was to go to the library once a week, check out as many books as I could fit into my bike basket, and spend the rest of the week sitting someplace cool, reading." Cotten lives in Montclair, Virginia.

Reg Cartwright was art director for various advertising agencies before turning his talents to children's books. He has illustrated more than thirty books for young readers, including Mister Potter's Pigeon, which won the Mother Goose Award. He and his wife, writer Ann Cartwright, live with their two sons in Leicestershire, England.

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