Reviews for Emma-jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree


School Library Journal Reviews 2007 October

Gr 5-8-- Emma-Jean Lazarus is like no other middle-school girl you have ever met. She doesn't do messy friendships. She doesn't waste a thought on boys. Most astonishing of all, she doesn't care what her peers think about her. So of course, Emma-Jean Lazarus is the freak of William Gladstone Middle School. She takes after her deceased father, a mathematical wizard, and his hero--French mathematician Jules Henri Poincare. Emma-Jean believes "even the most complex problems could be solved through a process of creative thinking." When Emma-Jean discovers Colleen sobbing in the girl's restroom over an encounter with the school's "female alpha chimp," she steps in, uses the power of logic, and solves her classmate's problem. Bolstered by her success, Emma-Jean looks around for other people to assist. The results are disastrous. Real life--and real emotions--are simply too complex. Emma-Jean moves from being the observer to being involved. As Poincare said, "It is by logic that we prove, but it is in our hearts that we discover life's possibilities." In her first novel (Dial, 2007), Lauren Tarshis has created an original character who will delight youngsters. Narrator Mamie Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep, delivers a wonderfully nuanced performance. Her Emma-Jean is Rainman-like in voice, and adults might ponder the possibility of Emma-Jean having a touch of autism. Younger listeners will simply listen and relish this wonderfully crafted story. Booktalking will be necessary to overcome the dreadful cover art. A superb addition to audiobook collections.--Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK

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