Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls

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Overview

Emmy was a good girl.At least she tried very hard to be good. She did her homework without being told. She ate all her vegetables, even the slimy ones. And she never talked back to her nanny, Miss Barmy, although it was almost impossible to keep quiet, some days.

She really was a little too good. Which is why she liked to sit by the Rat. The Rat was not good at all . . .

Hilarious, inventive, and irresistably ...

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Bean, Jonathan New York, NY 2008 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 358 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: ... Children/juvenile. Read more Show Less

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New York, NY 2008 Trade paperback Uncorrected Proof New. Brand new Uncorrected Proof, never been read 358 p. Includes illustrations. Glue binding, paperback

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Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls

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Overview

Emmy was a good girl.At least she tried very hard to be good. She did her homework without being told. She ate all her vegetables, even the slimy ones. And she never talked back to her nanny, Miss Barmy, although it was almost impossible to keep quiet, some days.

She really was a little too good. Which is why she liked to sit by the Rat. The Rat was not good at all . . .

Hilarious, inventive, and irresistably rodent-friendly, this is a fantastic first novel from acclaimed picture book author Lynne Jonell.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Jonell's (the Christopher and Robbie picture books) first novel is a lustrous affair, a droll fantasy with an old-fashioned sweep and a positively cinematic cast. The beginning will hook readers right away: the class pet, a rat, mocks the protagonist for being too good. "It doesn't get you anywhere," he tells her. "The only thing that happens is, you get ignored." When the teacher doesn't even seem to see the girl a few pages later, the rat has made his case for being bad, and Jonell has launched a truly labyrinthine plot involving prodigally endowed rodents and nefarious schemers with entangled pasts. Emmy, the heroine, must face down evil nanny Jane Barmy and win back the love of her parents, former booksellers who, since inheriting Great-Great-Uncle William's fortune, spend all their time jet-setting and buying themselves the very best of everything. Her challenge increases when the rat-freed by Emmy, one of the few characters who can hear him talk-accidentally shrinks her to his size. Jonell's villains aren't too frightening to be good targets for jokes, and the rat serves as an excellent comic foil. Occasionally the eccentricities of the plot sidetrack the action or otherwise bog down the pacing, but for the most part the narrative proceeds at an assured clip. To top off the fun, Bean (At Nightand The Apple Pie That Papa Baked, both reviewed above) decorates the margins with drawings that produce a flip-book effect: the rat falls from the bough of a tree, covering his eyes as he somersaults backward in mid-air to land in Emmy's outstretched hand. Ages 9-up. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Sharon Oliver
Emmy is invisible. At least, that is how she feels. Her formerly attentive parents have inherited a good deal of money and keep leaving on longer and longer trips. Her teacher cannot remember her name, and her classmates act like she is not there. The only one who seems to notice her presence is the classroom pet rat, and he is not happy with her either. After the rat bites her, Emmy is stunned to discover the rat can talk. It turns out that he is one of a group of rats with special powers being kept captive by the town's resident mad scientist, Professor Capybara, and he is in cahoots with Emmy's scheming nanny, Miss Barmy. When a boy in her class discovers he too, can hear the rat and talks to Emmy, they end up on a rollicking adventure to rescue the rats and undo Barmy's control over Emmy's parents before it is too late. This is a great can't-put-it-down action story. Jonell's characters are well fleshed out, including the standard evil villains. Emmy is definitely a heroine to root for, and there are moments of true humor mixed with some real peril on their adventures. Each page contains an illustration along the top edge that when flipped quickly, shows a rat falling from a tree limb. The only real quibbles with the book are the title and the cover art. The title is a bit misleading (the rat does not shrink, he shrinks other people) and is not quite in keeping with the fast-paced story. The cover is printed with old-fashioned looking art and dull oranges and blues. It is hardly eye-catching. This is a good addition to all collections, but you may have to push readers past the cover. Reviewer: Sharon Oliver
Children's Literature - Sue Poduska
Fun, exciting, and fanciful, this is the sequel to Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat. Friends Emmy and Joe visit the underground Rodent City through a series of rat bites and kisses, both magical. They encounter all manner of rodents and former humans, some of whom are pure evil and some of whom are being held captive in a diminutive state. The wicked Miss Barmy was Emmy's nanny before she became a rat. When Miss Barmy attempts to manipulate the residents of Rodent City, Emmy must stop her. She cannot let her new friends down. She learns to find her courage and to live with her guilt. Emmy's one goal for her summer vacation is to have a normal life. The rodents make that nearly impossible, but she still manages to make more human friends. The characters are wonderful and diverse. Partly because this is a sequel, the plot is sometimes difficult to follow, but you might not care. Reviewer: Sue Poduska
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6

In this sequel to Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat (Holt, 2007), Emmy discovers the fate and whereabouts of the five missing girls pictured on evil Miss Barmy's cane. Although the woman is no longer Emmy's nanny-in fact, she is now a rat-her plots are as wicked as ever. Using the powers of their talented rodent friends to change sizes, the protagonist and her friends seek to thwart Miss Barmy's attempts to subvert the rodent community while also attempting to rescue the girls, who are the four-inch-high prisoners of Miss Barmy's nasty parents. Emmy's uncertainty about her ability to make human friends and about her role within the rodent community cause her to make bad decisions when these two worlds come in contact with one another; luckily, she redeems herself by the end. The plot moves in fits and starts, lacking the fizzy energy of the first book-possibly because the sassy Rat plays a smaller role this time-but fans will find plenty of adventure, fun, and all the rodents they could wish for.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Emmy Addison and her friends Joe (a boy) and Raston (a magic rat) return in this whirlwind sequel that picks up weeks after Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat (2007) ended. School's out and Emmy wants to avoid her new rodent pals and "do regular ten-year-old things," so she can start fifth grade with lots of friends. But when her former nanny, the devious, despicable Miss Barmy, and Miss Barmy's adoring sidekick, Cheswick Vole, surface in Rodent City as ingratiating rats, Emmy senses trouble brewing: Miss Barmy plans to steal the Addison family jewels using five doll-sized little girls whom she has held prisoner in her parents' attic. Determined to save the missing miniature girls, Emmy and Joe shrink, transform into rats and enlist Raston and other rodent chums in sometimes hilarious, often breathtaking capers to thwart Miss Barmy. En route, Emmy learns the hard way the importance of being true to your friends, whether human or rat. More clever, rodent-filled fantasy featuring the irascible, irresistible Raston Rat and the extraordinary Emmy-and Bean's flip-book wizardry. (Fantasy. 9-12)
From the Publisher

“Fans will find plenty of adventure, fun, and all the rodents they could wish for.”—School Library Journal
 
“More clever, rodent-filled fantasy featuring the irascible, irresistible Raston Rat and the extraordinary Emmy—and Bean’s flip-book wizardry.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Fans of the first book will be pleased.”—Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805081510
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 10/14/2008
  • Series: Emmy and the Rat Series , #2
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 368
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 770L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Lynne Jonell is the author of the novels Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat and The Secret of Zoom, as well as several critically acclaimed picture books. Her books have been named Junior Library Guild Selections and a Smithsonian Notable Book, among numerous other honors. She teaches writing at the Loft Literary Center and lives with her husband and two sons in Plymouth, Minnesota.
 
Jonathan Bean has a master’s degree in illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He has illustrated several books for young readers, including Mokie and Bik. He lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

The Rat was not good at all. When the children at Grayson Lake Elementary reached in to feed him, he snapped at their fingers. When they had a little trouble with fractions, he sneered. And he often made cutting remarks in a low voice when the teacher was just out of earshot.

Emmy was the only one who heard him. And even she wondered sometimes if she were just imagining things.

One Wednesday in May, when not one person had seemed to notice her all morning, Emmy asked to stay indoors for recess. “I have spelling to study,” she explained to Mr. Herbifore.

The teacher, hurrying out after his class, didn’t look at her as he nodded permission. At least Emmy thought he had nodded…

“Thank you,” said Emmy. And then she heard something that sounded—oddly—like a snort. She looked at the Rat, and he snorted again. He was scowling, as usual.

“Why are you always so mean?” Emmy wondered aloud.

She didn’t expect the Rat to answer. She had tried to speak to him before, and he had always pretended not to hear.

But this time he curled his upper lip. “Why are you always so good?”

Emmy was too startled to respond.

The Rat shrugged one furry shoulder. “It doesn’t get you anywhere. Just look at you—missing recess to study words you could spell in your sleep—and the only thing that happens is, you get ignored.”

Emmy looked away. It was true. She didn’t want to tell the Rat, but she didn’t mind missing recess at all. For Emmy, recess was a time when she felt more alone than ever.

“The bad ones get all the attention,” said the Rat. “Try being bad for once. You might like it.”

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

 Discussion Questions
1. Like many middle school students, Emmy wants to be
normal. Have students define “normal.” Do they think it is
really a bad thing to be viewed as the opposite? Who do
students think determines what normal looks like?
2. Although Emmy thinks Joe has it easy, he has a few
problems of his own, especially pressure from his father
to play soccer all the time. Ask your students why Joe
doesn’t tell his father how he feels.
3. “Emmy peered inside all twenty-three Lego bins, and
wished (not for the first time) that she didn’t have so
many toys. It was embarrassing when people came to visit;
and when she tried to find something, it took forever”
(page 10). Students should discuss why Emmy would be
embarrassed by all the things she had. Can they come
up with ideas for what she could do with all of the toys
instead of keeping them, unused, in her playroom?
4. Discuss with your class why Miss Barmy’s cane makes
Emmy so uncomfortable while others find it very interesting
and beautiful. Ask students if an object can be both
repulsive and attractive at the same time. Can people
appear both ways, depending on who is looking? Have
your students ever seen something or known someone
like that?
5. In chapter 2, Raston says that he “does not wish to wallow
in ignorance.” Yet poor Sissy “had spent years stuck
in a cage with no opportunity to learn much of anything”
(pg. 57). Have students discuss Raston and Sissy’s feelings
about their educations. Can they list ways he could help
her?
6. Friends are very important. Emmy thinks that she
can only be friends with humans and tries to avoid the
creatures of Rodent City. How do students feel about
this sentiment? Do they agree or disagree – can humans
befriend animals? What about pets? Discuss with your
class what makes someone a good friend. Does Emmy
demonstrate how to be a good friend?
7. Emmy struggles with a feeling of guilt and hopelessness
throughout the book. Have students list the situations
that caused these feelings. Talk about why she feels
so guilty. Could Emmy have avoided these feelings? How?
8. Miss Barmy and Cheswick make an appearance
at the party thrown in honor of Professor Capybara.
They seem to have changed and the rodents accept
them without hesitation. Mrs. Bunjee even proclaims,
“Everyone deserves a second chance…. But people
can’t switch from bad to good all at once, without a
few false steps along the way. It’s our job to help and
guide, not to criticize,” (p 115-116). Do your students
believe that people can change that drastically? Can
they think of someone who was terribly nasty and
became a better person eventually? Have students
come up with ways to help someone trying to change
their nasty ways.
9. “Go on. You won’t get your wish if you don’t take
the first step” (p 151). The wishing mouse’s encouraging
words to Emmy signify that it might take more than
making the wish for it to come true. Emmy, Thomas,
Joe, and even Meg have wishes granted (whether
they knew it was happening or not). Discuss with your
students how the characters’ wishes are different.
Have students choose a character and tell what they
would have wished to happen.
10. The little girls – Ana, Berit, Lee, Lisa, and Merry,
have had horrible lives. They had Miss Barmy as a
nanny, their parents mysteriously died, and they now
live in a shoe box in Mr. and Mrs. B’s attic. Ask students
how they think it would feel to be trapped like
the girls are. How do they take care of each other?
Have students create a list of words to describe the
girls.
11. Using Professor Capybara’s charascope, Emmy
and Thomas can see what characteristics make up
a person. Miss Barmy is full of hatred, resentment,
and probably a bit of fear. Thomas’s blood shows
love, happiness, curiosity, wonder, courage, and hope.
Emmy worries how her blood might appear, especially
after she let Sissy get injured. Ask students if they
think it is reasonable for her to worry. Discuss what
characteristics Emmy might see in her own blood.
How do they think Emmy’s blood sample would look
at the end of the story? How would Emmy feel about
the change?
12. Raston and Joe get very mad (and disappointed)
at Emmy when they find out what she allowed to happen to Sissy. They even say some pretty awful
things to her. Do students think their response
was fair? Have them defend why or why not.
13. Why do your students think Emmy was surprised
by Meg’s response to her when Emmy was
finally honest with her?
14. Emmy finally begins to act like a real friend,
and rather bravely, after her mistakes are discovered
by Joe and Raston. She sneaks into Rodent
City to snoop on Miss Barmy, she interferes with
Miss Barmy’s plans, and she rescues the little
girls. Ask your students whether Emmy redeems
herself for her mistakes. Connect their answers
to question 7 and discuss whether she proves
that she is a good friend.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012

    Very good

    I liked this book a lot. It had a lot of exciting parts in it. I think it was a very good sequel.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Ycyc

    ASESOME SAUCE! my fave of the series!

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Read

    This is a great book and if ur confused while reading it u might not have read the two books before it.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    Ok

    Im reading this book and it is not the greatest book but it is ok

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Great book

    I liked this book

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    Awesome book

    You shoukd read it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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