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BLUE RIDGE BABIES 1, 2, 3 by Laura Sperry Gardner


A Counting Book

by Laura Sperry Gardner ; illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Pub Date: March 16th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-64567-083-4
Publisher: Page Street

This variation on a popular counting song combines numbers with animals from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

In “Over in the Meadow,” a counting poem–turned–traditional song for children, an animal mother asks her babies to perform a task in a rhythmic call-and-response. Each stanza, in turn, adds a sequential number to promote counting. This adaptation uses the refrain “Over in the Blue Ridge” to introduce animals from the region. Double-page spreads in earthy hues showcase a variety of scenes with charming, smiling animals populating land, sky, and water: Foxes pounce in a thicket; cardinals fly from a dogwood tree; brook trout swim in a creek. As in the original, animal mothers call on their numbered babies to act. A mother salamander, for instance, appeals to her 10 young efts: “ ‘Slither,’ said the mother. ‘We slither,’ said the TEN. / So they slithered in the mud of the boggy mountain fen.” Boldface text highlights the action words while cardinal numbers are emphasized in capital letters and different colors. Numerals beside each offspring also aid beginning counters. A final spread wraps up the song with all of the animal families featured together. A concluding section simply states that the Blue Ridge Mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountains, but it provides more details about each animal as well as the score to the song.

A pleasant concept book to integrate counting, mountain habitats, and language arts.

(Picture book. 2-6)