Black Beauty because she has heard so much about it from her cousin. In their effort to build a library, the women of Pitchfork hold a series of fundraisers, each event creating mishaps and adventure for young Emily." />
CHILDREN'S BOOK REVIEWS - EMILY's RUNAWAY IMAGINATION by Beverly Cleary
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Publisher: HarperTrophy, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers,
Summary: Emily and her family lived in Pitchfork, Oregon. Her grandparents owned the mercantile store; her family owned a farm. Pitchfork is a rural spot, and Emily is always trying to create the same kind of exciting life her cousin has in the "big city." Of all of her dreams, having a library in Pitchfork is the most important. She wants to read Black Beauty because she has heard so much about it from her cousin. In their effort to build a library, the women of Pitchfork hold a series of fundraisers, each event creating mishaps and adventure for young Emily. This fictional story about a young girl is set in the early 1900s.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 8 to 12
Interest Level: 8 to 10
Reading Level: 3.1
Age of Child: Read with a 7-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter - usually an open-minded listener - asked us to stop reading this. She found it boring and confusing. We had to stop and explain some of the events and situations (like why someplace wouldn't have a library, and what Liberty Bonds were).
Adult Reader Reaction: Trying to read this book aloud, we could understand our daughter's frustration. We love Beverly Cleary and were excited to introduce her to a new author. This was a poor choice. Although we stopped reading with our daughter, we kept reading until the end. There are some sweet moments, but the story does not fit with the title or the description on the back cover.
Pros: Humor, a young girl, and historic facts sprinkled in the plot offer elementary readers a nice story that introduces them to an age gone by.
Cons: The story requires lots of visualization and can get tedious when reading aloud.
Borrow or Buy: Skip. It is difficult to believe that we'd not recommend a Cleary book. Although there are some sweet moments, kids will find it hard to relate and to wade through the details of a life that is foreign to them.
Educational Themes: This is a book meant for casual reading. That said, the author has sprinkled in a number of facts about life in the early 1900s. Although some elements are specific to Oregon, many of the events happened all over the country.