Thursday, January 27, 2011

Emma Dilemma by Kristine O'Connell George

Pub. Date: Feb. 22nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-618-42842-7
Page count: 48pp, $16.99
Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine  O'Connell George, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter, published by Houghton Mifflin.

Another great book of poetry by Kristine George, perfectly illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.

Inside jacket flap:

I wish grownups would quit saying

I'll bet you're
              A very good big sister.

Sometimes Jessica is a very good big sister. But Emma isn't always a good little sister. Emma messes up Jess's room. She leaves the caps off all her markers. She makes a spectacle of herself at a soccer game, and she wants to tag along whenever Jess has a friend over...
     How can Emma be so lovable and so maddening? Does Jess have to be good all the time?
     Explored here in perspective, lively poems and tender, funny illustrations, Jess's Emma dilemma is a puzzle that every big sister knows all too well.

Jessica, who is in fourth grade, is the big sister of Emma, who is three. Even though I am a big sister, the poems in this book will delight even those who are not. George accurately captures the wide range of emotions that come with being a big sister,  including embarrassment...

Soccer Game

                  My friends are cracking up, 
             pointing at that little kid
                 wearing a ruffled petticoat
flowered hat
     long white gloves
plaid pants
              earrings like chandeliers
                       and plastic high-heeled shoes 
     with rhinestones.

                             That kid who's jumping up and down
    on the bleachers
             waving her feather boa
yelling at me,
                                                                                                           Goooo, Jessica!

                 I pretend I've never seen 
        that kid ever before
            in my whole entire life.

This is the opening poem in the book and, in my experience as a big sister, so accurately describes the feeling of wanting to crawl into a hole when you are embarrassed by your little sister...or any sibling or friend who displays love or joy for you in their own unique way--to your horror!

Something I remember vividly is playing games with my sister. We had a room full of Barbie dolls and would play with them for hours...until one of us wanted to do something the other didn't...then it was war! 


Emma cheats
   at board games
   and card games
  and still loses.

     She cries so hard
  that mom says,
                     Why can't you let 
                          your little sister win 
           just once?

    So I teach Emma
      52-Card Pick-Up.
        The floor is covered
          in a blizzard of cards.
          So why is Mom mad?
                 Why do I have to pick up 
      every single card?

Did you ever play 52-Card Pick-Up? That really brings back memories! My little sister always wanted to follow me around and go everywhere I went with my friends. So does Emma...


                                     My best friend, Sasha, comes over,
                and Mom promises--
           cross her heart--
                  that she'll keep Emma
                              out of our way.

                              I have my friend all to myself--
no Emma
     stuck to me 
  like a burr
            stuck to my sock.

The illustrations by Nancy Carpenter depict the emotions and experiences the two girls have throughout the book adding another layer of meaning to this brief memoir of being a big sister told through poetry.

This is a perfect book for parents to share with their children and for teachers to share with their students. The emotions conveyed are those of just about everyone, whether you are a big sister or not!

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