Reviews for Emily Dickinson's Letters to the World


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 March 2002
Gr. 4-7. In earlier titles such as My Name Is Georgia (1998), about Georgia O'Keeffe, and Sebastian (1999), about Bach, Winter offered wholly engaging biographies that were easily accessible to children. In this latest effort, she blends biographical facts and a collection of Dickinson's work, with mixed results. Written in the voice of Dickinson's sister, the introductory lines tell a few details about the poet in simple, compelling language, describing where she wrote, her penchant for white dresses, her reluctance to leave home. Then Dickinson's sister discovers the poems, which make up the remainder of the book. Several whole selections will appeal to young children, and images in others ("The moon was but a chin of gold") will also spark interest. But most selections are abstract and filled with difficult words and mature concerns. The small, square format and bright, spare, spring-colored paintings suggest a young readership, but the most likely audience for this will be teens and adults able to grasp the full complexity of Dickinson's work. ((Reviewed March 1, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Fall
Written from the point of view of DickinsonÆs sister after the reclusive poet has died, this brief volume blends a few biographical tidbits with twenty-one of DickinsonÆs poems. Vibrant paintings rendered in a folk-art style serve the rich imagery of the poetry well, but the abstract nature of some of the verse makes this small, squarish volume a more sophisticated book than its tone and appearance suggest. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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Kirkus Reviews 2002 January #2
Mixing such chestnuts as "There Is No Frigate Like a Book" and "I'm Nobody! Who Are You?" with less common expostulations ("Will there really be a ‘Morning'? / Is there such a thing as ‘Day'?), Winter (My Baby, 2001, etc.) presents a quick but complex taste of a quick but complex poet. To the 22 carefully selected poems, the artist pairs simply drawn folk-art scenes of a white-gowned figure ruminatively observing outdoor settings, and sandwiches it all with an invented narrative from Emily's sister, Lavinia, that fills in a bit of background about the poet's cloistered life. Though the verses are not only printed in a "handwritten" italic, but also placed so that it's sometimes hard to tell where one poem leaves off and the next begins, this small tribute effectively captures a sense of Dickinson's precise language and wide-open imagination. Great potential as a keepsake and a lovely introduction for younger readers. (Poetry. 6-12) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 January #1
"My sister Emily was buried today," begins this wisp of a picture book, part thumbnail biography and part miniature poetry anthology. For the next several pages, a mournful Lavinia reminisces about her reclusive sister ("Emily never went anywhere. Townsfolk thought her strange"), roots through her dresser ("Here are the dresses she wore only white in summer and winter") and ultimately discovers a cache of poems ("There must be hundreds!"). The remainder of the book offers up a selection of Dickinson's best-known and perhaps most approachable work, beginning with "This is my letter to the World/ That never wrote to Me " and including "There is no Frigate like a Book/ To take us Lands away" and "I'm Nobody! Who are you?/ Are you Nobody Too?" Verses about nature predominate ("A Spider sewed at Night/ Without a Light/ Upon an Arc of White"), but Winter does not shy away from more metaphysical themes ("Exultation is the going/ Of an inland soul to sea,/ Past the houses past the headlands / Into deep Eternity "). With her trademark folk art style, Winter demurely dresses the pages in shades of lavenders, periwinkle and soft green. The scanty biographical information may leave the curious wanting more, but this is nevertheless a visually pleasing introduction to Dickinson and her work. Pair this with Elizabeth Spires's The Mouse of Amherst for a more complete picture of the poet. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2002 March
Gr 2-5-The reclusive American poet is revealed through 21 of her poems in this small-format picture book. Told from the point of view of her sister Lavinia, who discovered almost 1800 of Dickinson's precious poems after her death, the story provides only snippets of the poet's enigmatic life: her refusal to leave the family's Amherst home, her fanatical love of words, and her dying as a virtual unknown. However, the selection of poems-Emily's "letters"-gives insight into her thoughts on a variety of topics, ranging from nature ("Snowflakes") to the secrets of the heart ("Have you got a Brook in your little heart-") to her distaste at the thought of fame ("I'm Nobody! Who are you?"). Winter's paintings use all-white backgrounds to illustrate the facts of her story, but when readers step into the world of Dickinson's imaginative mind and intense poetic spirit, the illustrator switches to color-filled backgrounds, with the full or partial figure of the poet ever-present. Here the strong images of the subjects of the poems clearly take precedence, and, as with Winter's illustrations in Follow the Drinking Gourd (Knopf, 1992), her simplistic style manages to accentuate the depth behind the words. Naturally, these gems beg to be read aloud, and they are sure to provoke discussions about their meaning and the powerful images they suggest. Pair this title with Michael Bedard's Emily (Doubleday, 1992) for a fuller introduction to this brilliant poet.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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