Ages 7-10, Grades 3-5
My thoughts: This delightful story presents a fictionalized Miss Emily Dickinson and her young neighbors in fun adventures in her garden and about in the evening. The story is written in free verse with short lines gracing the pages rather than structured format of rhyming poems or paragraph prose. This is a nice introduction (albeit fictionalized) to Miss Emily Dickinson, favorite poet of America. It is also a good introduction to reading free verse with a storyline similar to what it would be were it written in regular paragraph form.
A whimsical Miss Emily is portrayed in this story as the instigator and conspirator of adventures. The bibliography at the end is an asset as is the section of historical notes including the identity of the people actually in the story: "Mac" is MacGregor (Mac) Jenkins who lived across the street from the Dickinson mansion during his childhood. He became an author and wrote Emily Dickinson, Friend and Neighbor in 1930. And "Ned" is Edward (Ned) Dickinson who was Miss Emily's nephew living next door to his aunt.
The story..... It is an invitation to adventure issued by Miss Emily to the four children to meet her at night to go see the traveling circus and all it's glory. While out and about, one of the children is hurt. But all does not end there. They adventure continues.
Soft black and white sketches bring life to the story and each illustration has the identifying line of text beneath it. The book is abundantly illustrated but not a true "picture book." Matt Phelan's illustrations have a charm that speaks well to the story and to the time frame in which the story happened.
An engaging read, while it might involve some struggle for some readers to grasp the style. It is still a great introduction to fictionalizing a real person (and people), an opportunity to read a "story" in a different style, and to have a fun time whilst doing it all.
About the book: Discover the mischievous and affectionate side of a revered poet in this adventure about Emily Dickinson, four young friends, and a traveling circus.
When an invitation to join Miss Emily in the garden appears, Mattie, Ned, Sally, and Mac know they’re in for some fun because Miss Emily — Emily Dickinson to the rest of us — always has a surprise in store for her young friends. And today’s may be the biggest adventure yet. In Burleigh Mutén’s suspenseful story, beautifully illustrated by celebrated artist Matt Phelan, Mac, the youngest member of the group, tells what happens when a reclusive poet and her band of pretend Gypsies wait for the midnight circus train to arrive.
Recap: Over the past few days, I have been reviewing three very well done children's books that feature the classical literary world. With these reviews is a giveaway of one of the books as a courtesy of Candlewick Press. So we've have a engaging look at Charles Dickens, an anthology of Classic Poetry, and a delightful rendering of a fictional tale about Emily Dickerson. The books are......
- Classic Poetry An Illustrated Collection by author/anthology editor: Michael Rosen & illustrated by Paul Howard
- Miss Emily author by Burleigh Muten
- Charles Dickens England's Most Captivating Storyteller by author: Catherine Wells-Cole
Begins August 30
ENDS September 20 @ 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Candlewick Press to facilitate this review. Opinions are solely my own. I was not compensated for this review.