Reviews for Emma Dilemma : Big Sister Poems


Booklist Reviews 2011 May #2
Jessica's little sister, Emma, is a pest. She embarrasses Jessica by showing up at soccer games in dress-up costumes, and at home, she invades Jessica's private space: "Someone / has been ‘shopping' / in my room / Someone / left the caps off / all my new markers." In free verse written in Jessica's realistic voice, George describes each lively scenario, and Carpenter's full-page, pen-and-ink and watercolor pictures extend the sense of anger, irritation, jealousy, guilt, love, and joy between the sisters. Jessica is protective, too; in a hilarious "Translator" poem, she explains to Dad what Emma means when she asks for "squabbled eggs" for breakfast. The daily dramas build to a real climax when Emma falls and breaks her arm, and Jessica tries not to blame herself ("An accident / Not my fault / Not my fault"), then weeps as Mom and Dad hold her tight, and she writes the first message on Emma's cast: "I love you." Older siblings everywhere will recognize the big-sister's view of family fury and fun. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
Thirty-four poems cover the highs and lows of big sisterhood. Fourth-grader Jess describes life with almost-four-year-old Emma, who adores and simultaneously annoys her sister. The straightforward, honest poems contain a range of feelings: embarrassment, fury, affection. Likewise, Carpenter's illustrations capture both the endearing and irritating qualities of preschool-aged girls, while the expressions on Jess's face capture every nuance of her emotions. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #1
A picture book aimed squarely at girls with younger sisters hits its mark with thirty-four poems that cover the highs and lows of big sisterhood. Fourth-grader Jess describes daily life with almost-four-year-old Emma, who adores and simultaneously annoys her sister. The straightforward, honest poems contain a whole range of feelings: embarrassment ('Soccer Game': 'My friends are cracking up, / pointing at that little kidÉwho's jumping up and downÉwaving her feather boa '); fury ('Trespass': 'Someone / drew a face / on my soccer ball. / Someone is hiding / and had better hope / I never find her'); affection ('Emma's Hand': 'Emma's hand is / just the right size / to fit / inside mine'); and pure terror ('Below': 'Emma, so small / below me / on the ground. / Not moving. / Just crying'). Likewise, Carpenter's illustrations capture both the endearing and irritating qualities of preschool-aged girls, while the expressions on Jess's face capture every nuance of her feelings about Emma. To top it off, the poems and art tell an absorbing story -- complete with a few tense moments and a warm, believable conclusion -- widening the audience and making this book more than just an opportunity for big sisters to nod their heads in total recognition. JENNIFER M. BRABANDER Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 January #1
George and Carpenter winningly collaborate to sketch the dimensions of sisterhood. Told from elder sister Jessica's perspective, this series of short free-verse poems and pastel-shaded ink-and-digital illustrations movingly depict the challenges and comforts of Jessica's "dilemma," namely the actions of her preschool-aged sister, Emma, only a few years her junior. Emma is at times irascible, adulatory, inappropriate, silly, fun-loving and generous. And, irritated as she sometimes gets when Emma raids her bedroom or mimics her every word, Jessica proves herself ever the model big sister, reading to Emma, translating her baby talk for their parents, allowing her refuge when nighttime "monsters" threaten, teaching her essential skills like how to shoot paper off a straw and worrying terribly when Emma falls and breaks an arm. Jessica even makes space for Emma while doing homework—"I move over, give her plenty of elbow room, / because the pictures inside Emma's head are bigger than the kitchen table"—knowing that Emma loves her because she's "the only one / who can remember / the names of all her / rocks." This touching portrayal captures well the many mutual acts of kindness and tolerance inherent in healthy sibling relations. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)  Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 November #5

A likable fourth-grader shares her frustrations about her preschool-age sister, Emma, in candid narrative poems. Emma copies everything Jessica does, embarrasses her at her soccer game by wearing a boa and high heels ("I pretend I've never seen/ that kid ever before/ in my whole entire life"), and "decorates" her room with yarn. There are tender moments, genuinely conveyed in Carpenter's expressive pen-and-ink illustrations: "Emma cheats/ at board games/ and card games/ and still loses." The vignettes form such a vivid portrait of Emma and Jessica that readers may feel as if they personally know them--and a tense turn of events will have readers holding their breath until the reassuring conclusion. Ages 6-9. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 February

Gr 1-4--Jessica shares the struggles of being the big sister in this collection of 34 poignant poems. The fourth grader's three-year-old sister, Emma, vacillates between being sweet and lovable and being Jessica's biggest problem. She wants to be a good sibling, but little sisters can try one's patience. In one poem, Jessica generously allows Emma extra space to draw, but in the entry on the facing page she only grants Emma a "teeny twig" in her family tree. Spring-colored line drawings in pen-and-ink and digital media are filled with engaging details, expressive characters, and lots of humor, and bring the family dynamics to life while the verses build to a climactic situation that brings these youngsters together in a touching way.--Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA

[Page 96]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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