From School Library Journal
PreSchool-K–Emma Kate and her elephant best friend sit next to one another in school, share lunches, play at recess, finish their homework, and go to soccer practice. They even have their tonsils out at the same time, sharing a hospital bed and gallons of pink ice cream. The girl's bright red dress stands out against the white background and soft charcoal-gray pencil drawings of the large friendly elephant. Subtle hints in the illustrations of the dress, a license plate that reads BIGMOME, and a hospital chart lead readers to the surprise ending: Momma and Daddy elephant comment on their child's active imagination as they are told all about her day with Emma Kate. The only possible drawback to this otherwise amiable story of imaginary friendship is the fact that the classmates are human, making readers think twice about the conclusion.–Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY
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PreS-Gr. 2. Polacco's artwork is as strong as ever in a warm story that celebrates imaginary friends. The young, pigtailed narrator introduces Emma Kate, a handsome gray elephant. "We do just about everything together!" says the girl, and, indeed, the following spreads show the friends walking to school, swinging at recess, and reading and dreaming together. When the girl tells her parents about the fun she has with Emma Kate, they respond, "You have such an imagination," indicating that the elephant is imaginary. But in Polacco's expertly rendered, energetic graphite drawings, Emma Kate is such a solid presence that children, particularly those with imaginary friends, will feel that even if Emma Kate is imagined, the friendship is real. Familiar scenes at school and home extend the story's comforting tone, and the few bright spots of paint, which stand out strongly against the black-and-white drawings (the girl's red dress is a constant focal point), reinforce the delicious sense of two worlds overlapping. Gillian Engberg
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