Thursday, April 24, 2008

Emily's Runaway Imagination...random thoughts

Well, I've finally finished up a few books. I'm sure you'll be thankful that I'm sparing you reviews of The Endocrine and Reproductive Systems and The Human Lifecycle. However, if you ever are in the market for some middle school level books on the subject, I can definitely recommend both.

Okay, now on to Emily's Runaway Imagination. It seems hard to believe, but I'm pretty sure this is the first book I've ever read by Beverly Cleary. While I was a pretty avid reader as a kid, I do not remember ever reading any of her books. It's possible I may have, but if so, they didn't leave an impression. The impetus for trying her out now was Becky's Celebrate the Author Challenge. Each of my selections for this challenge was made with the boys in mind. But I must admit that Emily's Runaway Imagination was not the book I had originally chosen. I had planned on reading Ralph S. Mouse, as that sounded like a book both the boys and I would enjoy. Well, wouldn't you know it, the very day we were going to start reading it, Gray's teacher started reading it to the class. But as luck would have it, that very day, Annie brought me up a pile of books to post on Paperback Swap. They were books she'd outgrown and didn't think the boys would like. And right there in that pile was Emily's Runaway Imagination...a book by Beverly Cleary to fill in the gap.

I admit I was a bit worried that the boys wouldn't like it. They are both at a very girl-a-phobic stage, and I didn't think having a female for a main character was going to go over very well! But they gave it a chance, and they both ended up enjoying it a great deal (though neither will actually admit it). Tell-tale hints: asking me to read an extra chapter, laughing aloud, asking multitudes of questions...

And I also admit, I wasn't sure I would enjoy it either. Books written for this age are just generally not among my favorites. I love picture books. And I love books written for middle/high school age. But in general, these elementary level books just don't do a lot for me. This one surprised me. I didn't fall madly in love with it or anything, but it was enjoyable.

Emily is a girl with spunk, and as you can guess from the title, a very vivid imagination. Each chapter is somewhat of a story in itself, another antic from Emily's life. By far, our favorite chapter was the one in which Emily innocently fed the pigs fermented apples and the drunken pigs caused quite an uproar at her mother's fancy party. But Emily's other adventures were amusing as well. And running throughout the book is the story of the library. At the beginning of the book, Pitchfork has no library. But through one little girl's desire to read Black Beauty, and much work on her mother's part, their little town not only sees a library born, but watches it grow. And I suppose it will surprise no one, knowing what a total sap I can be, that I was left with a tear in my eye at the sweet, tender ending of the story.

Thanks again, Becky, for hosting this...it's really been a lot of fun so far!

7 comments:

Stacy at Exceedingly Mundane said...

Yeah, look at you! Reading books, posting great reviews, and knocking out those challenges :)

Happy Reading!

Chris said...

I used to love Beverly Cleary when I was a kid...we read tons of her books when I was in elementary school and my favorite will forever be The Mouse and his Motorcycle...you should read that one to your boys, I guarantee they'll love it! It's such a great story. This one sounds good too...and I hadn't even heard of it!

Nymeth said...

I'm not familiar with Beverly Clearly, but I'm glad that both you and your boys ended up enjoying this one :)

Melody said...

I'm not familiar with Beverly Clearly either, but am glad you guys enjoyed it! :D

DesLily said...

I love when we are totally surprised by how much we enjoy a book.. especially when we don't expect to!

Carl V. said...

I'm pretty sure I read several Cleary books as a kid. I know for sure that I read Mouse and the Motorcycle. I haven't heard of this one but that doesn't surprise me considering how prolific an author she is. I'm glad the whole family enjoyed it. Wonderful review Debi.

Jean said...

The book about a girl that older son Don didn't want to read (or have read to him) but ended up hooked on was Island of the Blue Dolphins. It helped him realize girls could do all the things he thought only boys could do. After we read it together, he read it again on his own.