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Emma's Rug Paperback – May 12, 2003


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (May 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618335234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618335237
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8.7 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #373,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As a small child, Emma has two noteworthy practices: she stares for long periods at the fuzzy white rug she has had since birth, and she spends quite a bit of time drawing intently. When she enters school and garners many prizes for her artwork, it becomes clear that the seemingly blank rug is the source of her inspiration. Knowing more than Emma's mother, youngsters will wish they could intervene when she decides, soon after Emma is feted as the winner of a citywide art competition, that the now-dingy rug needs a washing and throws it into the machine. Caldecott Medalist Say's (Grandfather's Journey) deftly understated tale leaves ample room for readers' own interpretations. Yet it is his superb visual images, which have the semblance of faultlessly composed photographs, that make the most indelible mark here. As he has so affectingly accomplished with the characters in his previous works, Say fills Emma's face with abundant expression; her moments of anguish when she thinks she has lost the source of her art and her subsequent despondency seem wrenchingly real. Equally convincing is the child's tentative hopefulness when, in the book's most innovative picture, she spies the faces of many intriguing creatures (which Say hides playfully around her) begging to be drawn. An impressive creation, to be appreciated on many levels. All ages.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3?Emma's small, plain white rug has been with her since her birth. What makes the child unusual, however, is not her love for her blanket, but her precocious artistry. In kindergarten her paintings amaze her teachers; in first grade she wins top prize in school, citywide, and other competitions. Emma is not impressed by her success: she "only looked at her rug." Comes the day when Mother puts the never-cleaned mat into the washer. It emerges ragged and thin. Emma is devastated and ceases to paint, days later disposing of all her work, awards, materials?and rug. Then, on the now-bare wall of her room, she seems to catch sight of something. Rushing outside, she recognizes the denizens of her imagination and artist's eye, creatures "she had thought she would never see again." On the last page, she is putting pencil to paper. Adults, certainly, will make the connection between the tabula rasa of Emma's rug and the projections of her imagination. Readers who do not see all the subtlety of this story may still be delighted by the watercolors?both Emma's childlike ones and Say's luminous evocation of her world, exterior and interior (the picture of Emma's anguish at her rug's fate is wrenching). Even baseboards and floorboards are eloquent as Say paints them. A tale about nothing less than the coming-to-consciousness of an artist who, in her seventh year, already feels her very identity inextricable from the making of art.?Patricia (Dooley) Lothrop Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Allen Say was born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1937. He dreamed of becoming a cartoonist from the age of six, and, at age twelve, apprenticed himself to his favorite cartoonist, Noro Shinpei. For the next four years, Say learned to draw and paint under the direction of Noro, who has remained Say's mentor. Say illustrated his first children's book -- published in 1972 -- in a photo studio between shooting assignments. For years, Say continued writing and illustrating children's books on a part-time basis. But in 1987, while illustrating THE BOY OF THE THREE-YEAR NAP (Caldecott Honor Medal), he recaptured the joy he had known as a boy working in his master's studio. It was then that Say decided to make a full commitment to doing what he loves best: writing and illustrating children's books. Since then, he has written and illustrated many books, including TREE OF CRANES and GRANDFATHER'S JOURNEY, winner of the 1994 Caldecott Medal. He is a full-time writer and illustrator living in Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Roberta Proctor on March 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
It goes without saying that all of Allen Say's books are wonderful; if you've not read "Tea with Milk" or "Grandfather's Journey" or "Allison" (the best book about adoption I've ever read), you are missing a great master in the world of children's picture books. Say both writes and illustrates his books, and the continuity created by this one-person effort (not that he's the only writer who illustrates his own books) is always noticeable, providing a consistency in tone and approach sometimes absent in children's books when the writing and art jobs are divvied up.
Allen Say illustrates his books with rich, yet spare, watercolors that work lovingly and effortlessly with his clean prose style. His paintings are highly representational, even photographic at times, and their perspective and precision are more sometimes more suggestive of oils than watercolors. In this book, Say departs from this realistic tendency at times when he captures beautifully the developing artistic sensibility of a young girl. I don't want to say how he does it, or tell you more about the story than this, because its unfolding is part of the joy here.
For any artistic child, this is a gift of validation for his or her creative interest. And this takes children who appreciate art into the inner world of those who create it. I can't say enough about this fabulous book.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I don't know how you can give this book 4 stars! If anything this is a 5 star book. I've met Allen Say and he said that 'The question that all authors hate most is, Were do you get your ideas? So I wrote this book and if somone asks me were I get my ideas for books I say read Emma's Rug.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Ann Wagner on October 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A wonderful story about how a young girl finds her true source of inspiration to draw and paint. Allen Say does a fabulous job with his watercolor illustrations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KSL on October 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When Emma was born as a baby gift she was given a plain creme colored rug that her Mother put by her crib. As Emma grew she began to draw beautiful pictures and won many awards. Emma got her inspiration and what to draw from her rug. One day while at school, her mother finds her rug while she was in Emma's room and found the rug was dirty and washed it. When Emma came home and found her rug missing she was upset, and even more upset after the rug came out of the dryer, smaller, clean and not fluffy. Emma's insipartion for her drawings was no longer there..... and finally one day after throwing all of her artwork, awards and supplies in the trash as well the rug.....she finally again sees and feels " her Inspiration" and realizes that creativity come from within, not from an object.

This is my 1st Allen Say book, and I really am impressed! Here's to more great books.
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By Jean C. on March 27, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Emma's rug is a deceptively simple child's book with a much deeper meaning. It asks the larger question, "What is inspiration and where does it come from?". A book for all ages.
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