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Emily's Blue Period Hardcover – June 17, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—A lovely, contemplative picture book. The text is short, with no more than a few sentences per page, but the writing is evocative and does a wonderful job of portraying the complicated emotions and behaviors experienced by children during confusing times. Divided into five vignettes labeled as chapters, the story is that of Emily, a young girl who loves art—particularly Pablo Picasso's unique way of portraying the world through cubism. When her parents separate, both she and her younger brother struggle to cope with the new reality. This book does a beautiful job of using the arts to show Emily's process as she grieves, accepts, and adapts to the changes in her family. The pencil and watercolor illustrations are appropriately muted, sticking to a soft blue, green, and brown color scheme with highlights of yellow and red. The subtle addition of some digital imagery creates lively, relatable illustrations. Despite the difficulties that Emily's family may be having, their imperfect life is full of love, and that comes through in both art and text. This is not a straightforward "What is divorce" story but rather a window into one girl's complicated emotional journey. It's a first purchase for libraries that have a section of picture books for older readers, and a high-quality, nondidactic book for parents and caregivers looking to start conversations about divorce.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN
“A nicely underplayed look at family change that will speak to many youngsters' experience.” ―BCCB
“Aspiring artist Emily is trying to make sense of her life, which right now is all in pieces, since her mom and dad don't live together anymore . . . During the blue period, tones are gray and black and blue, but the final coloring collage invites children to find all the parts of Emily's life . . . Artful.” ―Booklist
“*This is a heartfelt, relatable, and even sometimes funny picture book. It's also empowering for readers struggling with similar situations, as Emily figures out a way to redefine her idea of home - herself, through the making of art.” ―The Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW
“*This book does a beautiful job of using the arts to show Emily's process as she grieves, accepts, and adapts to the changes in her family . . . A lovely, contemplative picture book.” ―School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
“A girl adjusts to her parents' divorce with the help of Pablo Picasso's artwork . . . A worthwhile, idiosyncratic demonstration of a specific artist's relevance to a young child.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Daly offers a picture book with a middle-grade sensibility, examining the way that creating art can help dispel distress.” ―Publishers Weekly
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Illustrated by Lisa Brown
Emily, a young aspiring artist, is struggling to make sense of her life now that she finds it all scrambled up. Her parents are no longer living together. In school, Emily is learning about the artist Picasso and his various artistic styles. She has taken a significant liking to Picasso’s Cubism period. Cubism is where objects are placed where they are not expected. Ironically, Emily’s father has ended up moving to a cube of his own, also known as an apartment. Emily is feeling sad and decides to make a collage using Picasso’s techniques for a school assignment. Picasso often painted in blue colors when he was sad, and now Emily is in her blue phase with her art. The school assignment helps Emily make sense of her home living situation, which she finds, is constantly changing around her. In this book the author Daly presents a relatable picture book to embolden readers struggling with a similar situation to persevere through family struggles. The material presented is a beneficial resource that both parents and caregivers can utilize to introduce the concept of divorce to young children.
BIBLIO: 2014, Roaring Brook Press, Ages 4 to 7, $17.99
REVIEWER: Paige Mellinger
FORMAT: Picture Book
ISBN: 1596434694, 978-1596434691
The illustrations are colorful and interesting. This is a bit of a difficult book because of the split topics. If you are looking for an art book, you have to read through the story of divorce. If you are looking for a book on coping with divorce, you have to enjoy learning about Picasso. If you would like both topics at once, you are in luck!
The book is written in such a way that it would be appropriate for all school age children.