Saturday, January 23, 2010

My Uncle Emily

My Uncle Emily
By Jane Yolen, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
Philomel Books, 2009. Unpaged. Picture book.

This book beautifully portrays the warm and tender relationship between "Uncle Emily" Dickinson and her six-year-old nephew, Gilbert. He absolutely adores his gentle aunt, even to the point of defending her honor with a fistfight when one of his classmates calls her a "peculiar recluse," although he mistakes it for "reckless." When he finally shares the whole story of what happened at school, his best reward is the loving smile from his beloved Uncle Emily.

Although beautifully written, this book will be over the heads of small children, but adults and older children will find it enchanting, especially anyone interested in Emily Dickinson and her work. The illustrations are particularly lovely, done in a sepia pen and ink and digitally colored with delicate hues. Altogether, this is one excellent book.

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