Emily's Runaway Imagination

( 28 )

Overview

Can imaginative Emily make her biggest dream come true?

Spunky Emily Bartlett lives in an old farmhouse in Pitchfork, Oregon'at a time when automobiles are brand-new inventions and libraries are a luxury few small towns can afford. Her runaway imagination leads her to bleach a horse, hold a very scary sleepover, and feed the hogs an unusual treat. But can she use her lively mind to help bring a library to Pitchfork?

Adventure is pretty scarce ...

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Overview

Can imaginative Emily make her biggest dream come true?

Spunky Emily Bartlett lives in an old farmhouse in Pitchfork, Oregon'at a time when automobiles are brand-new inventions and libraries are a luxury few small towns can afford. Her runaway imagination leads her to bleach a horse, hold a very scary sleepover, and feed the hogs an unusual treat. But can she use her lively mind to help bring a library to Pitchfork?

Adventure is pretty scarce in Pitchfork, Oregon. So why shouldn't Emily bleach Dad's old plow horse or try some of her other ideas? "Written with Cleary's customary warmth and humor...The time of the story, about 1920, is delightfully brought to life."-BooklistAdventure is pretty scarce in Pitchfork, Oregon. So why shouldn't Emily bleach Dad's old plow horse or try some of her other ideas? "Written with Cleary's customary warmth and humor...The time of the story, about 1920, is delightfully brought to life."-Booklist

Set in the 1920s, in small-town America, this joyful story will tickle the imagination of all middle-grade readers. Fourth-grader Emily Barlett's runaway imagination keeps her busy! Whether it's getting the farm pigs drunk on rotten apples or bleaching the plow horse to keep him really white, Emily's adventures will keep readers laughing.

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Editorial Reviews

Association of Children's Literature
Emily's adventures make the book as freshly funny as Henry Huggins.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Emily is vividly real.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Upon picking up this classic tale from Beverly Cleary, the adult selector will undoubtedly wonder whether the intended cyber-generation recipient will be able to relate to either Emily or her imagination. The answer--an unequivocal, "Yes!" Good writing proves to be timeless, and Beverly Cleary is a good writer. The Emily of this story lives in a small town at a time when cars are relatively new, times are financially tough, and distasteful food is eaten because Armenians are starving. Pre-teen Emily romps through these difficulties with the help of her devoted parents, big-hearted neighbors, city-dwelling cousins, and adventuresome grandparents. Each chapter recounts an episode in young Emily's summer; and all together the episodes create the story of how Emily and her mother bring a public library to their small town of Pitchfork, Oregon. Here, there are laughs to be shared and feelings to be identified with for the most modern of today's young readers. Plus, there's a plug for libraries! What could be bad? 2000 (orig. 1961), HarperCollins Children's Books, Ages 8 to 12, $15.89 and $4.99. Reviewer: Judy Katsh—Children's Literature
Children's Literature - Heidi Sohng
Young Emily Bartlett lives in a farmhouse in the sleepy town of Pitchfork, Oregon, at a time when automobiles are new inventions. Being the only child of hard-working parents, Emily is responsible and honest, aiming to please around the farm. However, it is spring and she's at the age of discoveries, thus she has a "runaway imagination" and a penchant for getting into matters way over her head. Emily has big goals, like getting the town its first library. She is spurred on by the envy of her cousin Muriel from the city, who has a ton of books to read. Emily often finds herself getting into hilarious yet innocent predicaments. For example, once when Muriel visits, Emily tries to impress her by bleaching the farmhorse white. Another time, during her mother's fancy luncheon, Emily feeds the pigs rotten apples, accidentally making them drunk. Everything always turns out okay in the end for Emily, though. This is a warm, funny and family-centered book about the strength of a girl's belief (despite the odds) and of dreams coming true. Reviewer: Heidi Sohng
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380709236
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/28/1993
  • Series: Cleary Reissue Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 246,401
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.15 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most popular authors. Born in McMinnville, Oregon, she lived on a farm in Yamhill until she was six and then moved to Portland. After college, as the children's librarian in Yakima, Washington, she was challenged to find stories for non-readers. She wrote her first book, Henry Huggins, inresponse to a boy's question, "Where are the books about kids like us?"

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the Amercan Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature.

Her Dear Mr. Henshaw was awarded the 1984 John Newbery Medal, and both Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. In addition, her books have won more than thirty-five statewide awards based on the votes of her young readers. Her characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations. Mrs. Cleary lives in coastal California.

Tracy Dockray is a fine artist and illustrator who has contributed to more than twenty illustrated books, including the bestselling Grimm's Grimmest, Delia at the Delano, and all of Beverly Cleary's highly popular children's books, most notably Ramona. A member of the Society of Illustrators, she holds an MFA from Pratt and lives in New York City.

Biography

Beverly Cleary was inadvertently doing market research for her books before she wrote them, as a young children’s librarian in Yakima, Washington. Cleary heard a lot about what kids were and weren’t responding to in literature, and she thought of her library patrons when she later sat down to write her first book.

Henry Huggins, published in 1950, was an effort to represent kids like the ones in Yakima and like the ones in her childhood neighborhood in Oregon. The bunch from Klickitat Street live in modest houses in a quiet neighborhood, but they’re busy: busy with rambunctious dogs (one Ribsy, to be precise), paper routes, robot building, school, bicycle acquisitions, and other projects. Cleary was particularly sensitive to the boys from her library days who complained that they could find nothing of interest to read – and Ralph and the Motorcycle was inspired by her son, who in fourth grade said he wanted to read about motorcycles. Fifteen years after her Henry books, Cleary would concoct the delightful story of a boy who teaches Ralph to ride his red toy motorcycle.

Cleary’s best known character, however, is a girl: Ramona Quimby, the sometimes difficult but always entertaining little sister whom Cleary follows from kindergarten to fourth grade in a series of books. Ramona is a Henry Huggins neighbor who, with her sister, got her first proper introduction in Beezus and Ramona, adding a dimension of sibling dynamics to the adventures on Klickitat Street. Cleary’s stories, so simple and so true, deftly portrayed the exasperation and exuberance of being a kid. Finally, an author seemed to understand perfectly about bossy/pesty siblings, unfair teachers, playmate politics, the joys of clubhouses and the perils of sub-mattress monsters.

Cleary is one of the rare children’s authors who has been able to engage both boys and girls on their own terms, mostly through either Henry Huggins or Ramona and Beezus. She has not limited herself to those characters, though. In 1983, she won the Newbery Medal with Dear Mr. Henshaw, the story of a boy coping with his parents’ divorce, as told through his journal entries and correspondence with his favorite author. She has also written a few books for older girls (Fifteen, The Luckiest Girl, Sister of the Bride, and Jean and Johnny) mostly focusing on first love and family relationships. A set of books for beginning readers stars four-year-old twins Jimmy and Janet.

Some of Cleary’s books – particularly her titles for young adults – may seem somewhat alien to kids whose daily lives don’t feature soda fountains, bottles of ink, or even learning cursive. Still, the author’s stories and characters stand the test of time; and she nails the basic concerns of childhood and adolescence. Her books (particularly the more modern Ramona series, which touches on the repercussions of a father’s job loss and a mother’s return to work) remain relevant classics.

Cleary has said in an essay that she wrote her two autobiographical books, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, "because I wanted to tell young readers what life was like in safer, simpler, less-prosperous times, so different from today." She has conveyed that safer, simpler era -- still fraught with its own timeless concerns -- to children in her fiction as well, more than half a century after her first books were released.

Good To Know

Word processing is not Cleary's style. She writes, "I write in longhand on yellow legal pads. Some pages turn out right the first time (hooray!), some pages I revise once or twice and some I revise half-a-dozen times. I then attack my enemy the typewriter and produce a badly typed manuscript which I take to a typist whose fingers somehow hit the right keys. No, I do not use a computer. Everybody asks."

Cleary usually starts her books on January 2.

Up until she was six, Cleary lived in Yamhill, Oregon -- a town so small it had no library. Cleary's mother took up the job of librarian, asking for books to be sent from the state branch and lending them out from a lodge room over a bank. It was, Clearly remembers, "a dingy room filled with shabby leather-covered chairs and smelling of stale cigar smoke. The books were shelved in a donated china cabinet. It was there I made the most magical discovery: There were books written especially for children!"

Cleary authored a series of tie-in books in the early 1960s for classic TV show Leave It to Beaver.

Cleary's books appear in over 20 countries in 14 languages.

Cleary's book The Luckiest Girl is based in part on her own young adulthood, when a cousin of her mother's offered to take Beverly for the summer and have her attend Chaffey Junior College in Ontario, California. Cleary went from there to the University of California at Berkeley.

The actress Sarah Polley got her start playing Ramona in the late ‘80s TV series. Says Cleary in a Q & A on her web site: “I won’t let go of the rights for television productions unless I have script approval. There have been companies that have wanted the movie rights to Ramona, but they won’t let me have script approval, and so I say no. I did have script approval for the television productions of the Ramona series…. I thought Sarah Polley was a good little actress, a real little professional.”

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    1. Also Known As:
      Beverly Atlee Bunn (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Carmel, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 12, 1916
    2. Place of Birth:
      McMinnville, Oregon
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939

Read an Excerpt

Emily's Runaway Imagination MSR
Chapter One
Emily Goes to the Post Office

The things that happened to Emily Bartlett that year!

It seemed to Emily that it all began one bright spring day, a day meant for adventure. The weather was so warm Mama had let her take off her long stockings and put on her half socks for the first time since last fall. Breezes on her knees after a winter of stockings always made Emily feel as frisky as a spring lamb. The field that Emily could see from the kitchen window had turned blue with wild forget-me-nots and down in the pasture the trees, black silhouettes trimmed with abandoned bird nests throughout the soggy winter, were suddenly turning green.

Everywhere sap was rising, and Emily felt as if it was rising in her, too. This made it difficult for her to sit still long enough to write to her cousin Muriel, who lived in Portland and had so many wonderful things—things like fleece-lined bedroom slippers with kittens on the toes, cement sidewalks to roller skate on, and a public library full of books.

"Finish your letter, Emily," said Mama, who was scrubbing out milk pans at the kitchen sink while the washing machine churned away on the back porch. "Then you can take it to the post office."

Emily looked up from her letter. "Mama, I just know something wonderful is going to happen today," she said. "I can feel it in my bones."

Mama laughed. "Adventure is pretty scarce here in Pitchfork. I think your imagination is running away with you."

Mama often said this and whenever she did, Emily could just see herself hanging on for dear life in a buggy pulled pell-mell down Main Street by a frightened horse,the way a horse once ran away with Mama when she first came out West to teach school. All Mama's hairpins came out, her long black hair came tumbling down around her shoulders, and by the time someone stopped the horse she was a sight. Emily was always sorry she could not have been there to see the horse run away with Mama the way her imagination was supposed to run away with her.

Emily read Muriel's letter once more.

Dear Emily,
This week I went to the library. I got Black Beauty. It is about a horse. It is the best book I ever read. I read it three times. I have to go now. Write soon.

Yours truly,
Muriel

P.S. Mama sends her love.

It was not an easy letter to answer. Muriel was always writing about the library books she read—books like Heidi and Toby Tyler, which Emily had never even seen. Aunt Irene, Muriel's mother, said Muriel was a regular little bookworm.

Emily did not envy Muriel the fleece-lined bedroom slippers or the cement sidewalk for roller skating, but she did envy her that library. She longed to be a bookworm, although she did not think she would care to be called one. Unfortunately, the town of Pitchfork, Oregon, did not have a library. Oh, there were things to read—the Burgess Bedtime Story in the newspaper, Elson Reader Book IV, and the Sunday-school paper, but none of these qualified Emily to be a bookworm. Emily was not lucky like Muriel, who could ride a streetcar downtown to a big library full of hundreds, even thousands, of books, although of course Emily was lucky in other ways.

Emily was lucky because of Mama, who right now was sitting down to rest her feet while the washing machine did its work out on the back porch, Mama was so little she always wore high heels, even though she had a great big house to take care of. Tap-tap-tap went her heels all day long. Once, three years ago, during the war, when Mama had been an Honor Guard girl and had marched in a parade to get people to buy Liberty Bonds, she had lost one of her heels right in the middle of the parade, but that did not stop Mama. She had marched tap-bump, tap-bump all the way down Main Street to help sell Liberty Bonds. Mama had spunk.

It was funny about Mama's being so small, because Daddy was big and strong and handsome. Once when he was just out of high school, some men came out from Portland and told Daddy he should be a prize fighter, but, Daddy said, no, thank you, he would rather be a farmer. This was lucky, because sometimes when Emily got into an argument with one of the girls at school, she settled it by saying, "My father could have been a prize fighter if he'd wanted to, but he didn't want to. So there!"

Emily was lucky in her ancestors, too. They had been pioneers, and whenever things were hard, Mama always said, "Remember your pioneer ancestors." Emily had always liked the stories of their trip across the plains in their covered wagons. Now Emily's pioneer ancestors were all dead and buried in the weedy little cemetery called Mountain Rest, but she did have Grandpa and Grandma Slater, Mama's parents, right here in Pitchfork.

Emily was lucky in many ways. She was lucky in the house she lived in, a house with three balconies, a cupola, banisters just right for sliding down, and the second bathtub in Yamhill County. Emily did not know who owned the first bathtub, but having the second bathtub was still pretty important. It showed that their house, known as the old Bartlett place, was very old.

Emily's Runaway Imagination MSR
. Copyright © by Beverly Cleary. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2003

    Emily's Runaway imagination

    Have you ever tried to make a difference somewhere, but you have to try so hard that it almost seems impossible? Emily is a girl who lives in Pitchfork,Oregon it is a time where automobiles had just been invented, and you were lucky if you had a library around. Well that's what Emily wants. She is trying to figure out how to bring a library to her small town city. Her imagination leads her to do all sorts of crazy things on her way. Will she ever get the library she has dreamed of having for so long? If you have a runaway imagination just like Emily, and want to make a difference to someone somewhere, I would reccommend this book for you!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    O.K.

    In the middle of it but Beverly Cleary could do better.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2011

    Good

    Its a good book, but i dont think its teen fiction. i read it in 3rd grade. -Jessica 6th grade

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 17, 2010

    AWESOME BOOK!!!!!

    It is a awesome book how Beverky Cleary wrote it!

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2011

    Loved it! !!!!!!

    This book was so intresting I love Beverly Cleary

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    Beverly Clearly

    I love B.C. this is a great book but just to warn you its for kids 2-4th grade its a very easy read and it in the mind of a little girl.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2004

    Very Nice

    I like all the adventures Emily has and stil is not called a tomboy like they do in so many other books. She still wants to wear a pretty dress to the party and wants to be pretty. But she mostly has fun. The storyies are diffrent, and the other carachters in the book are very real, the autour probably knew or knows pepole just like that. very entertaining!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    Amazing

    5 star book buy it NOW good!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    All ages

    I am 12 and I still love ths book. You are not a TRUE book reader until ALL of Beverly Clearys books. This one is one of the best.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2012

    Omg

    Best book ever! I am on chapter seven and its awesome i highly recommwnd it! PEACE!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    Samantha mestre

    Hola -from amanda

    1 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2014

    F

    R

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2014

    Loved it!

    Loved this when it was read to me as a little girl.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2013

    ???

    I love Bevarly Cleary and the Ramona seris, Henry Huggins, Muggie Maggie, Dear Mr. Henshaw and alot of others, but i dont know about this one. Should i get it?
    ~Lunafur, med cat of Dragonclan~

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2013

    No words for it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Dear BAD

    Do not write bad words in posts

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    BAD

    It is a ass hole book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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