Author: Muten, Burleigh
When an invitation to join Miss Emily in the garden appears, Mattie, Ned, Sally, and Mac know they're in for some fun because Miss Emily--Emily Dickinson to the rest of us--always has a surprise in store for her young friends.
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 2.0 Quiz: 165596
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 6.20
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 63989
Kirkus Reviews (01/15/14)
School Library Journal (04/01/14)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (03/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2014 The introduction to this slim, illustrated verse novel explains that the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson enjoyed the company of the children who lived nearby, often joining them in their pretend play. In this fictionalized account of those interactions, Dickinson takes the lead, inviting the children to dress as gypsies and slip out in the dead of night to greet the circus that is coming to town. Such an adventure is shockingly inappropriate and therefore must be undertaken in secrecy, which must be breached when the young narrator, Mac, sprains his ankle on the way home. A disgraced Mac is delighted by an unprecedented visit from Dickinson, who takes full responsibility and leaves the children with a story, and his punishment is lifted with a visit to the circus as well. While the tale has a measure of old-fashioned charm and mild historical interest, there is not much substance; the poetry, for the most part, is more prosaic than genuinely evocative of the elegant, significance-laden imagery of Dickinson’s own work, and the sense of adventure is relatively slight. The adult-inspired imaginative play and Mac’s pastor father’s admonitions that his actions reflect on the family may have appeal for temperamentally earnest children and their parents, however, and the story may hold interest for children being introduced to Dickinson’s poetry by presenting Dickinson herself as child-friendly. Historical notes on the characters and bibliography are included. Final art not seen. KC - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 03/15/2014 In June 1877, Van Amburgh & Company’s Great Golden Menagerie and Frost’s Roman Circus and Royal Coliseum arrives in Amherst, Massachusetts, and four young children, led by the intrepid Miss Emily, sneak out one midnight to see the spectacle arrive by train. Miss Emily is Emily Dickinson herself, and her four charges are her niece and nephew and the son and daughter of the parson who lives across the street. Told from the point of view of Mac Jenkins, the youngest of the four, this slim verse novel celebrates the joys and troubles of a simpler time. Mutén’s free verse moves apace, capturing both the romance of the adventure and the plain beauty we associate with Dickinson’s poetry. For their part, Phelan’s graphite sketches, each identified by the line of text it depicts, convey an atmosphere of old-fashioned zeal. Based on actual relationships and events, this fantastical outing will foster curious readers’ imaginations. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2014 Gr 3–5—"Miss Emily" is Emily Dickinson, and Mutén's novel, appropriately penned in free verse, presents the poet as an engaging, warm, and somewhat whimsical personality. In this story, readers meet her through the eyes of her four young neighbors who gravitate to her garden for fun and adventure. Whether they must "slither like slugs" or pretend to be a band of Gypsies, Miss Emily always has surprises in store. She encourages the children to sneak out of their houses late at night because the traveling circus is coming to town. She wants them to experience the magical sight of the animals being unloaded, feel the excitement as the tents are set up, and be mesmerized by the fortune-teller. Of course, the adventure goes awry, and the children's escapades are discovered, but in the end, Miss Emily takes responsibility for the plan and saves the day. Phelan successfully uses softly muted black-and-white pencil sketches to capture this suspenseful tale of a midnight adventure. They gently imbue this charming story with a wonderful mix of humor and daredevilry. Miss Emily is a welcome middle grade novel for emergent readers as well as those who are more proficient. It draws readers in, captures their imagination, and does not disappoint. The inclusion of historical notes and a bibliography may prompt further inquiry by a new generation of Dickinson lovers. The light verse also makes for a wonderful read-aloud choice or can be used to enhance a poetry lesson.—Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.