Excellent Emmaby Sally Warner
Emma McGraw's third-grade class is getting ready for Winter Games Day, and Emma wants to win a prize more than anything. It would be the perfect way to make her father proud. But the rest of the class has mixed feelings about Winter Games Day. Jared is desperate to be the fastest runner and the farthest jumper, Fiona is worried about her weak ankles, and Annie Pat doesn't seem to care at all. When the big day arrives, nothing goes exactly as planned, but Emma is still determined to be as excellent as she can be.
Emma desperately wants to be a "winner" to impress her distant father, who has remarried and moved to London. When a sports competition at school is announced, the third-grader sees her chance. Warner deftly captures the mix of emotions that such contests evoke. The children know that they should be good sports and support everyone's efforts, but doing so is hard when they really want to win themselves. Numerous lessons are learned by the time the games have ended, but the instruction is humorous and gentle. Warner is a dead-on observer of playground politics, and has a great ear for dialogue. The scene of Emma and her friend Annie Pat watching the boys as if they were a group of animals in the wild is funny and telling. Small-scale black-and-white watercolors add to the humor of the story. Done in a slightly impressionistic style, the illustrations depict Emma and her friends as well as imaginative items from Emma's musings, such as her teacher getting married while parachuting. Readers do not have to have read earlier books in the series to appreciate this one, but Emma's fans will be the most receptive audience for this installment.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Meet the Author
Sally Warner (www.sallywarner.com) has published more than twenty novels for young readers, including the Emma and EllRay Jakes series. She lives in Altadena, California with her husband and their not-so-miniature dachshund, Rocky.
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