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Edward in the Jungle    by David McPhail order for
Edward in the Jungle
by David McPhail
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2002 (2002)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

'Edward loved to read', especially tales of adventure, as fans of Edward and the Pirates have already discovered. Young Edward especially enjoyed Tarzan stories, and the way that animals (except for the crocodile) come to the ape man's aid when his call reverberates through the jungle. Edward reads about his hero, surrounded by his own stuffed versions of jungle animals (aside from the missing zebra). When he looks up, he's being approached by ... an enormous crocodile.

Edward's tale reminds me of the popular Magic Tree House series, which whisks older children through chapter books full of historical adventures. In this case, Edward's own imagination pulls him into a starring role in adventures from the books that he reads. Of course, Tarzan rescues the young bookworm from the crocodile, and shows him how to send a call through the jungle. In his turn, Edward helps jungle animals, even the one that was after him, that enormous crocodile.

The illustrations are lovely, rich in verdant jungle colors, and the concept is delightful. It encourages kids to build their own imaginary stories out of what they read - something that I recall gave me great pleasure all through childhood. The only parental reservation I have about Edward's latest adventure is that kids are likely to start practicing Tarzan yodels all through the neighborhood. That aside, I'm looking forward to see what storybook world Edward picks for his next exciting reading adventure.

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