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EMMA'S RUG by Allen Say


by Allen Say & illustrated by Allen Say

Age Range: 6 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-395-74294-3
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Readers who found Say's Stranger in the Mirror (1995) opaque will welcome his return to limpid, ruminative form as he weighs in with a characteristically terse, oblique consideration of the wellsprings of artistic creativity. After spending hours staring at the small white rug given to her as a baby, Emma produces drawings and paintings of such promise that soon she has a roomful of prizes. "Where do you get your ideas?" her classmates ask. "I just copy." One day while Emma is out, her mother washes the rug. Horrified to find it "very clean," Emma stops drawing, and after a time throws her art supplies away--"Kid stuff." In losing one source of inspiration, however, Emma gains many more as visions begin to appear everywhere she looks. Emma is last seen working on a drawing more developed than her previous work. Say depicts Emma's art in a wholly believable way, as a combination of childlike subjects rendered with a sophisticated sense of color and composition; his well-lit, neatly drawn scenes--plus Emma's nearly indiscernible expressions--make the turbulent illustration of her anguish intense, her subsequent delight, vivid. (Picture book. 6+)