Excuse Me, I'm Trying to Read book cover image

Excuse Me, I'm Trying to Read!

  • 1695

By: Mary Jo Amani / Illustrated by: Lehla Eldridge

Winner of the NAESP Children's Book Competition Picture Book Category

When a young girl tries to read surrounded by elephants, lions, monkeys and zebras, she is surprised, scared, and amused. When the animals want to read, the tables are turned. A fun-filled picture book that will earn giggles and laughs from children of all ages.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Mary Jo Amani, author

Mary Jo Amani writes poetry and children's books. She is founder of Librospara Ninos/Books for Kids Africa, a non-profit organization that promotes the joy of reading in Nicaragua and Mozambique.

Lehla Eldridge, illustrator

Lehla Eldridge wrote and illustrated The South African Illustrated Cookbook and The Lovely Book for Wonderful Women.


Read more about Mary Jo & Lehla.

Awards & Honors:

  • Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year

Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

Curious animals continually disrupt a young African girl's attempts to read.

But who would try to read while sitting in a crocodile's mouth or lying on a rhino's back? And what if a dung beetle wants to join you? This series of silly situations is sure to appeal to those who enjoy the absurd. Sprayed by an elephant and squeezed by a snake, the girl never gets all the way through her book--the very same one that is in readers' hands. The patterned text and repetition of the title line make this both an engaging read-aloud and a good choice for an early reader. Eldridge's double-page illustrations appear to have been computer generated using a variety of styles-line drawings, collage and watercolor texture-and savannah colors. Though rough, they are realistic enough to allow for animal identification. ...A crowd-pleasing celebration of reading...

Learning Magazine

Ever try to read with an African ibis clawing your hair? Take a romp through the improbable obstacles that might keep a girl from reading. Despite a jungle full of challenges, this book's cute conclusion is sure to tickle your readers. Just for fun, challenge your students to pretend they're in the Arctic or on a mountaintop and have them come up with their own hilarious hurdles to reading.


Download the Cover


ISBN: 978-1-93413-351-4
ISBN: 978-1-93413-352-1

E-book PDF
ISBN: 978-1-60734-464-3
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 3-7
Page count: 32
8 x 9 3/4

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