The imagined events of one day in the early life of Emily Dickinson foreshadow her future creations.
Yolen sets the stage with an opening caption announcing it’s “spring 1834, Amherst, Massachusetts.” Young Emily, a smiling, round-headed child, takes scraps of paper from beneath her father’s desk, scribbles on them, and tries to share the results. Largely ignored by her father, she finds Mrs. Mack, a friendly woman busy in the kitchen, to be more receptive. Mrs. Mack listens to Emily’s poem “Frog and bog!” and pronounces it “A very good rhyme indeed.” After a trip upstairs to see her mother and baby sister, Emily ventures outside to share her words with the flowers and revel in the beauties of nature. Re-entering the house, Emily finds an envelope that prompts her to start thinking of rhymes again. Line breaks in most sentences and the way the text blocks are placed on the pages give the appearance of poetry. Although relatively lengthy, the text moves along smoothly with plenty of appealing turns of phrase and engaging images. Davenier’s lively illustrations, created with watercolor ink, vary in size and placement. Lightly sketched settings and period details offer some context. The author’s note fills in a few details while acknowledging that little is known about Dickinson’s childhood. The appended poems relate to words and ideas that appear in the story.
A warm portrait that even those unfamiliar with the iconic poet will likely enjoy. (bibliography) (Picture book. 6-8)