Cover image for At the edge of the woods : a counting book
At the edge of the woods : a counting book
Cotten, Cynthia.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt, 2002.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
A variety of animals, birds, and insects enjoy the flowers and trees of the forest early one morning.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.3 0.5 69920.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction A-B-C- 1-2-3 Books
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-A-B-C 1-2-3 Books
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



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.

Author Notes

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.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS^-Gr. 2. A great deal of activity is taking place at the edge of the woods on a warm summer day in this lovely counting book for young children. One chipmunk, two fawns, three foxes, and so on go about their business in a melodic, rhyming text: "At the edge of the woods the sun's warm rays / clear away the morning haze. / Four little lizards lounge and laze / at the edge of the deep, dark woods." All is quiet until the end when a big bear comes out of his lair, prompting ten ants, nine butterflies, eight sparrows, and the rest (pictured in sequence on one colorful double-page spread) to run away and hide. Clean, crisp illustrations reminiscent of a Rousseau painting catch the action in bold colors and shapes large enough to work well during storytime. A refreshing addition to the genre. --Helen Rosenberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.