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EMILY by Michael Bedard

EMILY

By Michael Bedard (Author) , Barbara Cooney (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-385-30697-0
Publisher: Doubleday

A Canadian novelist (Redwork, 1990) pays tribute to Amherst's great poet. Dickinson's new neighbor, a little girl, tells the story: a poetic missive--dried flowers with a plea to the child's mother to "Revive me with your music. It would be spring to me"--is slipped through the mail slot. Mother is reluctant, but Father senses the quality behind "the Myth," explaining that poetry is like music: "...sometimes a magic happens and it seems the music starts to breathe. It sends a shiver through you." When mother and child pay their call, Emily flees upstairs to listen to the piano from the landing, where the child joins her for a brief exchange of words and impromptu gifts--the lily bulbs she has brought for a precious bit of paper with a handwritten poem. The story is very quiet but beautifully crafted, with a clarity of observation and a delicately tart edge that creditably emulate Emily herself. Cooney's exquisite mixed- media art is perfect for the 19th-century New England setting; her beautifully balanced compositions are enriched with charming domestic detail and just a hint of satirical humor. An evocative glimpse of a formal society that will seem quite foreign to most children today, and of a mysterious, oddly independent woman who fascinated her own contemporaries as much as she does ours. (Picture book. 5+)