Emily

( 2 )

Overview

A young girl who lives across the street from the reclusive Emily Dickinson gets her chance to meet the poet when her mother is invited to play the piano for Emily. The girl sneaks up to Emily's room and exchanges a small gift for an authentic poem, which is included in the book.

When a mother and child pay a visit to their reclusive neighbor Emily, who stays in her house writing poems, there is an exchange of special gifts.

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Overview

A young girl who lives across the street from the reclusive Emily Dickinson gets her chance to meet the poet when her mother is invited to play the piano for Emily. The girl sneaks up to Emily's room and exchanges a small gift for an authentic poem, which is included in the book.

When a mother and child pay a visit to their reclusive neighbor Emily, who stays in her house writing poems, there is an exchange of special gifts.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a boxed review, PW compared this fictionalized encounter between Emily Dickinson and a young neighbor to "a Dickinson sonnet, a quiet gem: unassuming upon first glance, it is in fact deeply lustrous, with new facets becoming apparent the longer one looks." Ages 5-8. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This fictionalized encounter between Emily Dickinson and a young neighbor is, like a Dickinson sonnet, a quiet gem: unassuming upon first glance, it is in fact deeply lustrous, with new facets becoming apparent the longer one looks. The narrator and protagonist is a child who has just moved into the house across the street from ``the Myth.'' She accompanies her mother to Emily's house one day, where she makes her a gift of lily bulbs and receives a poem in return. Bedard's unnamed narrator speaks with the piercing clarity and insight particular to sensitive children. As she contemplates her fear of meeting the reclusive poet, she realizes that ``perhaps the lady in the yellow house is also afraid''; she intuitively responds to the hidden life mysteriously contained in the dull, dead bulbs; and she makes a simple but profound connection--``Maybe people are a mystery, too''--that allows her to reach out to her strange, largely hidden neighbor. While, laudably, the story in no way depends upon familiarity with Dickinson's life or work, the fullness of Bedard's accomplishment is most clearly evident in relation to the latter. He uses diction and imagery that might have been the poet's own: strong, sure language whose force derives from its very economy; small but potent details from nature and domesticity. Judiciously employing alliteration, rhyme, assonance and echoes--``Like flakes of flowers the words fell to the sheets. I listened to them fall and fell asleep''--his prose moves with the rhythms and lyricism of poetry, yet retains a child's straightforward, unselfconscious voice throughout. Caldecott Medalist Cooney's oils richly capture the story's subtly shifting moods, from the utter stillness of a street bathed in moonlight and swaddled in snow to the vigor of a sun-flooded room full of growing plants. They visually extend the text's Dickinsonian personification of nature (``There was no one there but winter, all in white'') and contain skillful echoes of their own: at different points in the story the child and poet are shown sitting alone on the landings of their respective houses, a visual reinforcing of their special kinship. And in their tranquil beauty these paintings testify to the mysteries and wonders of even the everyday. Ages 5-8. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
In a bright yellow house in Amherst, Massachusetts, lives a woman who hasn't ventured outside in 20 years. Her neighbors call her the myth, but the young girl across the street knows her reclusive friend as the magnificent poet Emily Dickinson. When a mother and child pay a visit to their reclusive neighbor Emily, who stays in her house writing poems, there is an exchange of special gifts. Two time Caldecott award winning illustrator Barbara Cooney's richly detailed oil paintings enhance the moving story of Dickinson's extraordinary private life.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-- A young girl whose family has just moved into the neighborhood describes her first encounter with the inhabitant of the yellow house across the road. Called ``the Myth'' by some, deemed crazy by others, she is, in fact, the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson. An air of mystery surrounds the woman as the child overhears her parents discussing their neighbor. When the girl's mother is invited to the yellow house to play the piano, curiosity deepens. The first meeting and special gifts exchanged between the girl and the poet are described in this imaginative and unusual picture book. In keeping with a story about a poet, the language of the text is lyrical. The effect, however, is to make the young narrator seem much older than Cooney's wonderful oil paintings suggest. The illustrations convey a sense of place and time long ago, from drawing rooms to clothing. This is a picture book to read aloud and share with older children, both because of the sophisticated language and the nature of the story. For what are youngsters who have never heard of Emily Dickinson to make of her eccentricities? Those who are beginning to encounter her poetry will find that Bedard's charming story demystifies the person and offers some understanding of her odd behavior. --Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440417408
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 362,824
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.33 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Bedard has written several novels and picture books for young readers, including Emily, a picture book about Emily Dickinson illustrated by Barbara Cooney. He lives in Toronto with his wife and children.

Emily Arnold McCully is the author and illustrator of more than twenty books for young readers, including Starring Mirette and Bellini, The Ballot Box Battle, the Bobbin Girl, and Mirette on the highwire, which won the Caldecott Medal. She has also illustrated more than a hundred books by other authors. She lives in New York City and Chatham, New York.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2005

    Emily is the best; my personal favorite

    Emily has got to be the coolest person ever. But she's also the strangest. This fictional book really showed how brilliant she was, even though she might not have gone to the college she wanted to. I would recommend Em to anyone and everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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