MY UNCLE EMILY by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (Philomel)

June 30, 2009 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment

uncle emilyPicture books about poets don’t always make both a good story and a good introduction to the writer—but this one accomplishes both.  It is a gentle story of a young boy who finds out that there is a better way to stand up for his beloved aunt’s honor than fighting AND—learns to “Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—.“ And it is a charming introduction to Emily Dickinson and her poetry.  Young readers may be captivated by her warm relationship with her nephew and his calling her “Uncle Emily” and observing that it’s “as if she wants me to see the world one small bee and one small poem at a time.”  The afterword sorts out fact from fiction.  The only troubling aspect is that her nephew died a few years after the events in the story.  In this case, the author chose wisely by including just some of the truth in the story and saving the rest for later and at a slant.  Yolen‘s deft storytelling is complemented by Carpenter’s illustrations which fill in the period details in soft, muted tones.    

Picture Book, recommended- Judith (WLS)

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WHEN I WORE MY SAILOR SUIT written and illustrated by Uri Shulevitz (FSG) HOMEGROWN HOUSE by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by E.B. Lewis (McElderry)

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