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Emily Dickinson's Letters to the World Hardcover – March 19, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (March 19, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374321477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374321475
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 6.3 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,329,958 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"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.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grades 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 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on April 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"My sister Emily was buried today..." So begins Jeanette Winter's very brief biography of poet, Emily Dickinson. Narrated by her sister, Lavinia, as she cleans out Emily's room, we learn just a few small facts about the elusive poet. She was a recluse who lived in the smallest upstairs room of the family's house. She loved words, studied the dictionary, and spent all her time writing on scraps of paper. She wore only white dresses, and most townfolk thought her strange. After her death, Lavinia finds drawers full of those scraps of paper, Emily's "letters to the world," and Ms Winter fills the rest of this small volume with a selection of 21 poems, some famous...There Is No Frigate Like A Book, I'm Nobody! Who Are You?, and If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking, and others less recognizable to complete her story. Her vibrant illustrations, done in an engaging folk art sytle, complement the text and enhances each poem beautifully. Though a bit light on biographical material, Emily Dickinson's Letters To The World is a simple and intriguing introduction to a remarkable poet that should open interesting discussions and whet the appetite of youngsters 7 and older, and send them out looking for more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Rouse on March 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The pictures in this book are vivid and appealing, and the selection of poems is very well-done. The poems included in the book feature striking images and simple language that will appeal to children.

I agree with other reviewers that the "biography" portion is a little flat and doesn't give much information at all about the poet--but it's enough to whet the appetite of a young reader who may want to seek out more detailed sources to learn more about Emily Dickinson.

For a parent who wants to read some good poetry aloud with their child, this is just right.
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14 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was a wonderful idea, but I was disappointed by the book. In my view the illustrations are stylized, sterile, and off-putting - you can see if you agree with me by enlarging the cover and taking a look at it - , the graphic design and color patterns produced visual clutter, and the poems are in not-easy-to-read stylized italics. But what prompted me to comment was the alteration of language of at least one, and I suspect more than one, of the poems. The eight-line poem I checked begins: "I'm nobody. Who are you?" In Ms. Winter's book line four of this poem substitutes "advertise" for "banish us," line six substitutes "frog" for "fog," and line seven substitutes "June" for "day." As you can see for yourself, these changes degrade the poem. I suppose this is considered legitimate bowdlerization, given the audience. I don't agree. In any event the author and editors were remiss in failing to include a notice that at least one of the poems was altered.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased several copies of this book. I gave one to my granddaugther and one to a friend. This is a sweet introduction to the poems of Emily Dickinson and makes her a real person to a child.
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By GSingh on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I loved this. A quick peaceful read for an adult. Interesting pictures for adults and children. Poignant. It is nice to have a short book of poetry instead of something cumbersome.
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