My Uncle Emily

My Uncle Emily

by Jane Yolen, Nancy Carpenter (Illustrator)
Publisher: Philomel Books
Hardcover, 32 pages
Price: $17.99

Gib loves his "Uncle" Emily very much. She writes poems for him, and they talk about special things like bumblebees. She’s a little odd, but she and Gib are best friends. Later, Gib gets in a fight at school because someone made fun of Uncle Emily. Gib keeps the fight a secret, but when everbody asks why he's limping, he stretches the truth and relates his own version. But Uncle Emily knows Gib well, and gives him a new poem called Tell the Truth. “Tell all the truth, but tell it slant. Success in circuit lies…” With his Uncle Emily to support him, Gib goes back and tells everyone what really happened. To his surprise, everyone applauds his tale and commends him for telling the truth. But none of the applause is half as gratifying as Uncle Emily's smile.

This charming story is a true vignette about the famous poet, Emily Dickenson. Unfortunately, while the prose is beautifully poetic, and the illustrations are lovely, it may not have a lot of story appeal for the youngest listeners.

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Exodus Rating:
FLAWS: Schoolyard fight & lying
Summary: Gib defends his "Uncle Emily" from the taunting of a fellow student, then lies about it, until she prompts him to honesty through a poem.

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