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EMILY STEW by Thomas Rockwell


With Some Side Dishes

by Thomas Rockwell and illustrated by David McPhail

Age Range: 9 - 11

Pub Date: March 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59643-336-6
Publisher: Roaring Brook

From the deliciously twisted mind that first advised a former generation of elementary readers How to Eat Fried Worms comes a wildly inventive poetic portrait of a riveting character who’s made up—rather literally—of a stew of contradictions. Moody and prone to the most erratic behavior, Emily is depicted in these playful rhymed vignettes as an eccentric yet eminently recognizable and likable young creature: “Emily Rose / wouldn’t wear clothes”; “Emily Phlox / hated clocks”; “Emily Grief / could get no relief.” McPhail’s pen-and-ink spot art helps capture the defiant Emily as she asserts her individuality in scenes ranging from dancing with a fish to being eaten by a tiger (which, happily, banishes ennui). The poet’s sophisticated silliness engages the imagination while offering the occasional wry philosophical observation—“Does a clock ever know what a moment means?”—that gives readers of all ages pause. Much more than nonsense verse, it’s a revealing window into budding autonomy that is sure to delight children and parents alike. Final art not seen. (Poetry. 9-11)