MY UNCLE EMILY by Jane Yolen


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 8


A six-year-old boy stalwartly defends his spinster aunt in a touching incident based on an event in poet Emily Dickinson’s life. Gib and his “uncle” Emily “often laugh together about things we two find funny,” but not poetry, which is “not a joke at all.” When Emily gives him a dead bee and a poem about the bee for his teacher, Gib worries his classmates won’t understand the poem. Gib’s fears are realized when his classmate calls Emily a “peculiar old maid.” Defensively, Gib hits the boy and conceals the incident from his aunt until she urges him with a poem to “Tell all the Truth.” Speaking through Gib’s first-person voice, Yolen artfully incorporates elements from Dickinson’s poetry and life to give readers an inside look at the enigmatic poet from her nephew’s fresh and loving perspective. Carpenter’s nostalgic, pastel-hued pen, ink and digital-media illustrations capture the atmosphere of late-19th-century Amherst as well as Gil’s special relationship with his famous aunt in this poetic vignette. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-399-24005-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2009


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