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THE PEN THAT PA BUILT by David Edwards


by David Edwards & illustrated by Ashley Wolff

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-58246-153-3
Publisher: Tricycle

This historic riff on The House That Jack Built provides dimension to the process of raising sheep to make wool. Each new phrase of the cumulative rhyme adds a step: “This is the wheel / that spins out yarn, / combed and teased, / straight as you please, / clipped by the shears, / grown by the sheep . . . / who live in the pen that Pa built.” Wolff’s woodcut-style images in gesso and gouache skillfully evoke the time period, farm-life details and the strong family bond as mother, father, son and daughter together shear and gather the wool and card, dye, spin and weave it. The ending neatly ties all the strands together as the wool is woven into a warm blanket for the new baby. The scenes are effectively staged and realized so that today’s children can appreciate the colonial experience. Teachers will welcome this visual demonstration in book form, which is almost as good as a visit to Old Sturbridge Village. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)