Monday, April 21, 2014

A Home for Mr. Emerson by Barbara Kerley

A Home for Mr. Emerson by Barbara Kerley. Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. unpgd. Scholastic Inc., February, 2014. 9780545350884. (Review copy courtesy of publisher.)     

Truth be told, Ralph Waldo Emerson does not spring immediately to mind when pondering subjects for a picture book biography. If anyone can make the world of this 19th century thinker accessible to a young audience, this duo, who brought us the amazing What to Do about Alice? and Those Rebels Tom and John, can.

Emerson settled in Concord, Mass with his second wife, Queenie. He loved his life there. He had his books, a vibrant community and quick and easy access to nature. He and his wife also entertained the many house-guests who made their way from all corners of the globe to the Emerson's doorstep. When his beloved house burned to the ground, Emerson decided to travel the world with his daughter while his house was being rebuilt. When he returned home, he was touched to discover that the community restored his house down to every detail.

The oversized cartoonish illustrations practically leap from the pages, there's such energy in each. Notable Emerson quotes decorate the end pages and are woven through the illustrations. An author's note provides more information and source notes are included. Accessible and unique, this is not your run-of-the-mill picture book biography. 

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