Emily Pearl, that not-so-helpful but very independent girl, is back in her second outing, this time “helping” at school.
Emily Pearl goes to school and can do lots of things—count to 14, write her name and hit a home run. But as in I Can Do It Myself! (2009), while the gentle rhyming verse brags about all of her accomplishments, Hayashi’s watercolor, pen and colored-pencil illustrations reveal that her efforts are not always successful or welcome. Yes, she can do the monkey bars two at a time, but it involves pushing other kids off. Yes, she can neatly stack the blocks…after she causes her classmates’ creation to tumble. Indeed, she is often the cause of the mishaps and chaos that she is so anxious to help with. While Emily Pearl’s previous outing was charming in its simplicity and its snapshot of a too-true phase in every child’s life, this one is not as successful. Emily Pearl is obviously older and so should be a little more clued-in about the effect her actions have on other people; readers scanning her classmates’ faces will know immediately that Emily is not always appreciated by kids or adults, but those who don’t pay attention to facial expressions and the small details may not get the point of the book at all.
This misses the riotous humor and innocent naughtiness that make Olivia and Eloise such delicious fun. (Picture book. 4-6)