When you read a book that you have wanted to for awhile and it is not what you expected, that can be a bit disappointing. Sometimes it can make it even better than expected. And sometimes it is a combination. Emily Writes: Emily Dickinson and Her Poetic Beginnings is one of those books that was a combination. Jane Yolen is a writer. She knows how to spin a tale and makes Dickinson come to life. However, due to lack of information about Dickinson as a child, the story is more about any girl learning her special style. It does not have to be Emily, it could be any poet, artist, musician, or any other kind of talent that is not done in the most traditional of manners.
Christine Davenier’s illustrations are a fun mix of classic and modern. You see a girl called Emily and the issues she faces (a ill mother, a distant father) and the fun she has (her beloved brother, a mother-figure who Emily and her family lives with (the afterwards explains this) and her first poem that people need a little help reading (after all it was written before Emily knew her ABCs).
I was looking for a biography in a picture book format, what I got instead was a book about being yourself, taking joy in things and knowing where to find a little happiness. An author afterwards fills in a few blanks, explains the family dynamics and history. If you are looking to introduce a child (most likely ages five and up) to Emily Dickenson’s poetry, this is not it. But if you are looking to find a fun book to read to your child that happens to be based around Dickenson, this is the one for you.