Children's Literature - Hazel Buys
The approaches children take to learning to work independently are as individual as the children themselves, but they are uniform in one requirement: no help from anyone else! Emily Pearl makes the same admonition again and again, "I can do it myself!" As she takes on more and more tasks of daily life, she insists on figuring out how to complete the work without instruction or assistance. Parents will relate to the combination of exasperation and patience expressed by Emily Pearl's mother as she watches over her daughter's efforts. The illustrations capture the energy of each attempt and the inventiveness of each solution, which seems unique to the fresh view of the world held by the very young. The role of the supervising parent (in this case the mother) is thoughtfully handled and presented almost exclusively in the illustrations. She never intervenes ahead of Emily Pearl's attempts to "do it myself," but it is clear she is ever present and keeping a watchful eye on her enterprising daughter. The rhyming text makes this a good read-aloud story, and the illustrations add visual sub-text, expanding on each task Emily Pearl sets out to accomplish. This book would be a good selection for pre-school or lower elementary school story hour. Reviewer: Hazel Buys
School Library Journal
Emily Pearl is "a very big girl" who is determined to be self-reliant. She pours her own juice (through a funnel), ties her own shoelaces (more or less), and can make herself a sandwich. She says she is able to do many things, although the illustrations tell a different story. The page that shows Emily Pearl copying the cat's cleaning habits is a wonderful, amusing example of how the pictures belie yet expand on the text: "She can wash her own face." Throughout the day, as her mom tries frantically to help or clean up after her, the child's refrain is, "I can do it myself!" "But at bedtime, when shadows creep over the wall,/Emily Pearl feels a teeny bit small," and she turns to her mother for a hug and a story. Hayashi's cheerful watercolors vary in size from spreads to small vignettes and help give the story just the right pace. Both for storytimes and one-on-one sharing, this tale is told in a fresh, yet familiar way.-Jane Marino, Great Neck Library, NY
Emily Pearl is just big enough to terrorize the household with her can-do attitude: "And if just for one second her mom tries to help, / Emily says, 'I can do it myself!' " As in this simple refrain, approximate and exact rhymes roll rhythmically along while Hayashi's watercolor, pen and colored-pencil art tells the real story. The text treats Emily as if she were the big girl she thinks she is, while the illustrations reveal a loving environment where a wise (and sometimes exasperated) mother allows her confident daughter to learn. Emily begins pouring herself juice through a funnel into a glass, uses a toilet-paper roll and clothespins to curl her hair, plays trombone upside down, delivers cat food on the back of her fast-moving remote-control car, until bedtime, when the shadows fall and she welcomes Mom's hug and a good story. The interplay between art and text will work well for the group reader who can enjoy the spontaneous giggles that will erupt at storytime or for one-on-one in-the-lap fun. (Picture book. 2-5)
Children's Literature - Aimee Isaac
Emily Pearl is a charming preschooler who is proud of her budding independence. She confidently cares for herself throughout the day, from pouring her own juice and cleaning her messes to blowing her nose. She eagerly resists her mother’s attempts to help her, proving over and over that, albeit imperfect, she is capable. Despite her firm confidence and persistence, Emily eventually realizes that even the most capable child needs help now and then. Through rhyming text, Adams accurately captures the drive of the young child to declare her independence. Adams uses believable details and includes a repetitive line that preschoolers will cheerfully proclaim as they listen to the book read aloud. Using pen and pencil drawing with watercolor, Hayashi portrays Emily’s personality through believable and relatable scenes. Readers will surely smile at Emily’s attempts. Parents will enjoy the portrayal of the mother holding herself back from helping her proud little girl. Parents and young children will enjoy sharing this story. Reviewer: Aimee Isaac; Ages 3 to 7.