Reviews for Emily and Carlo


Booklist Reviews 2012 April #1
What better way to introduce kids to Emily Dickinson than via her dog, Carlo--a floppy, drooly Newfoundland? This fresh approach focuses on the relationship between the two, and the short narrative is punctuated with well-sourced quotes that reflect her thoughts. For example: "The Dog is the noblest work of Art . . . his mistress' rights he doth defend--." Together, this unlikely pair roams the woods and pond around Amherst: "The Frogs sing sweet today-- / they have such pretty, lazy times-- / how nice to be a frog!" Stock's fluid watercolor illustrations create a fitting atmosphere, with lush surroundings that invigorate the scenes with warmth. Emily's white clothing always contrasts dramatically with Carlo's black coat. A closing note tells how Carlo, who lived to be 16, was Emily's only dog, and he was not only an integral part of her life but a creative inspiration as well. Further back matter includes sources of quotations and additional information about Emily's life. A memorable introduction to an important poet. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Figley provides a fictional glimpse into a lesser-known part of Emily Dickinson's life. Stock's watercolors capture the sloppy enthusiasm of the poet's enormous Newfoundland dog; the text details their cross-species devotion, with the occasional sprinkling of Dickinson's own words. This story will appeal to children too young for Dickinson's work. More information on the reclusive poet and her pet is appended. Bib.

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Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #1
Emily Dickinson did have a love interest. His name was Carlo. He was a dog, a Newfoundland, a great, slobbering, shaggy mess of a creature, which undercuts any notions of primness modern readers may harbor of Miss Dickinson. As Figley draws forth their gathering affection, she reveals important aspects of Dickinson's relationship to the world, her deep-running shyness that led to a reclusive life. But her time with Carlo, some 16 years, was full of beauty and meaning, as expertly coaxed from her poems and letters. The path to her brother's house, "just wide enough for two who love"; "I started early, took my dog, / And visited the sea." They were a couple, surely--they shared sweeps of time, they endured separations, they went calling--and when the end came for Carlo, Dickinson did not dodge the sting: " 'Twas my one glory-- / Let it be / Remembered / I was owned of thee." And if a moodiness still pervades the proceedings, something blue, the tone is lifted by Stock's watercolors, which are as drenched in color as a sun room painted by Childe Hassam. A pleasing little window into Dickinson's life and an invitation to learn more about the fresh-breathed poet from Amherst. (Picture book/biography. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2012 November/December
Using Emily Dickinson's own words, Ms. Figley uncovers a side of this reclusive, often moody poet that may seem paradoxical. Home from school because of an illness, 19-year-old Emily's father presented her with a large, lively puppy, which she named Carlo. Emily and Carlo became constant companions. He and Emily were quite an odd pair, and he emboldened Emily to venture out. After he died, Emily stopped venturing out, preferring to stay close to home with her poetry. The author uses excerpts from poems and letters to illustrate the importance of Carlo in Emily's life, Catherine Stock uses watercolors to paint a loving picture. Her impressionistic scenes depict an exuberant Carlo, lush gardens and fields. Quotation sources are given, along with background information. The story, a loving tribute to one of our most admired poets, will help young readers make a connection and will spark an appreciation of her poetry. MaryAnn Karre, School Librarian, Horace Mann and Thomas Jefferson Elem ntary Schools, Binghamton, New York. RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 February

Gr 1-5--The titular duo is Emily Dickinson and her dog, a present from her father to keep her company when her siblings leave home. Figley uses Dickinson's connection to her large, hairy Newfoundland both to re-envision the renowned recluse as a person with a long, loving relationship and to make her seemingly austere life more accessible to younger readers. Her partially imagined narrative recounts the poet's 16-year friendship with her pet, from their rambles around the woods and meadows of Amherst to their separation during Emily's trips for medical treatment and their final parting when Carlo dies of old age. The author draws on Dickinson's letters and poems to flesh out her subject's fondness for her "shaggy ally" and includes quotes throughout. At first glance, the book design is fairly commonplace; the choice of watercolors to capture a 19th-century female within a flower-filled backdrop does little to distinguish this title from other historical picture books. However, Stock's paintings bring unexpected warmth and happiness to Dickinson's usually sober image. Strong, busy strokes convey a sense of texture and vibrancy in the New England landscape. While animal lovers will appreciate this gentle story, readers not hooked by an inherent sense of empathy for a fellow pet owner might find the narrative plain or overlook the subtle charms of Stock's art. Still, Figley's introduction has greater appeal for those unfamiliar with the poet than the straightforward, chapter-book biographies currently in print. Libraries that own Michael Bedard's Emily (Doubleday, 2007) and Jeanette Winter's Emily Dickinson's Letters to the World (Farrar, 2002) may consider this an additional purchase, while those without picture-book coverage of the poet will find it worthwhile.--Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI

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