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Emily's Runaway Imagination

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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,956 ratings  ·  109 reviews
Spunky Emily Bartlett lives in an old farmhouse in Pitchfork, Oregon - at a time when automobiles are brand-new inventions and libraries are a luxury few small towns can afford. Her runaway imagination leads her to bleach a horse, hold a very scary sleepover, and feed the hogs an unusual treat. But can she use her lively mind to help bring a library to Pitchfork?
ebook, 95 pages
Published October 6th 2009 by HarperCollins (first published 1961)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Melody
I loved this book so much, I have no idea why I was so resistant to reading it. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming to Ramona as well, I suspect because the first Cleary I ever read was one of those dreadful teenage romance things, and I read it at my most cynical, disaffected and obnoxious. So my default response to Cleary is "Oh, I hate her" but in reality, I mostly love all the books she wrote. Except the teenage romances. I think.

Anyway, Emily! Oh, how I loved Emily. She's hilarious an
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Judy
THE SUNDAY FAMILY READ

I was in a bad mood when I started reading this book, about a girl who is always being told that she lets her imagination run away with her. It instantly made me feel happy.

Emily is nine going on ten. She is the only child of a farming family outside Pitchfork, a very small town in Oregon. Her mother came from somewhere east, possibly Chicago, where she had been a teacher. Her father is descended from pioneers who came to Oregon generations ago. They all work hard and Emil
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Susann
The Light Flaky Pie Crust chapter is probably my favorite, but The Hard-Times Party is a close tie. I made my own version of Emily's valentine once, and the entire plot centers on opening and sustaining a public library. What more could a Beverly Cleary devotee ask for?

I have this original hard cover edition now, but growing up I had the Dell Yearling cover with Emily Cloroxing a horse. I'm pretty sure it was one of the two books I was allowed to choose for my annual cross-country flight to my C
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Phoebe
This book has aged well since I read it as a child. Emily's small Oregon town of Pitchfork is a good place to live, but it is sadly lacking in one regard: it needs a library. Emily hears of the riches of the Portland library from her city cousin, and longs to read Black Beauty, and other wonderful-sounding books. Her mother decides that Emily is right, and sends away to the State Library for help. Sort of a Henry Huggins story with a female protagonist, readers should enjoy this gently humorous ...more
Leta Blake
My 9yo says, "Wonderful!"
Terry
Trying to read this book aloud, we could understand our daughter's frustration. We love Beverly Cleary and were excited to introduce her to a new author. This was a poor choice. Although we stopped reading with our daughter, we kept reading until the end. There are some sweet moments, but the story does not fit with the title or the description on the back cover.

To read our full review, go to The Reading Tub.
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Melee
I have such memories of re-reading this over and over as a child.
I think I was fascinated with the era Emily lived in. I desperately wished that I wore bloomers, lived in a small town, and attended "Hard-Times Parties". (Actually, I did have an unofficial Hard-Time party once with my brothers. The only thing I remember about, though, is that I wore my old, somewhat ragged nightgown that my grandmother made for me years before. *sigh* Those were the days.)
Melanie
Emily Bartlett lives in Pitchfork, Oregon on a small family farm during WWI. She does love her small-town life but often finds herself jealous of her big city cousin, Muriel who lives in Portland. Muriel has access to a library where she is able to check out great books like Black Beauty. Pitchfork doesn't have a library. But then her mother gets a great idea to encourage the town to find a place to be a library and then sends a letter to the State Library in Salem, OR. The State Library agrees ...more
Jill
I started reading this to my daughter but finished reading it on my own because I couldn't wait. It is a story of Emily who lives in a rural Oregon town and yearns for a library. She also has many small-town adventures during the year that are perfect in their lack of drama for anyone but Emily. A person's imagination can make life interesting, and Emily's certainly does that.

It is not my favorite Beverly Cleary book, but a sweet collection of stories to read when drama reads have sapped all you
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Michelle
Of course I loved this book when I was a kid. Emily's main goal throughout the book and her various shenanigans is to get the town its own library. Her many other adventures--trying to help her mama put together an elegant luncheon...but getting all the hogs drunk instead, telling spooky stories when having a sleepover with her fuddy-duddy cousin, trying to make the perfect light and flaky pie crust, etc.--are adorable and heartwarming. The pictures throughout are sweet, and I loved our setting ...more
kim
loved this Beverly Cleary way more than the other ones I've read recently. maybe because I feel like I relate to the main character more. I feel like the book has a good amount of action, humor, life learning lessons, but it also screams OUT OF DATE more so than the other Cleary's I've read because this one takes place in a small town in the rural country knocking it back even more years before the pub date. at the same time though, kids might get it as historical fiction vs it just being out of ...more
Laura Hughes
A young girl gets up to hijinks living in a small farm town in rural Oregon in the late 1910s/early 1920s. Her problems don't stem from her runaway imagination so much as from her quirky ingenuity, as she comes up with her own creative solutions to problems: she Cloroxes a horse so that her city cousin will think of her family's work horse as snow-white steed; gamely colludes with her grandfather to avoid the ridicule of the townsfolk when his Model T doesn't work as well as a horse for country ...more
Amber the Human
I really enjoyed this book. I was a little perplexed at first ... Cleary writes about how it's not long after the war ... but it took me a second to figure out which war she was talking about. But once you get around to them not having electricity, it's more clear. The book can also be a little racist ... just something to think about for parents whose kids are reading this on their own. I would recommend reading it with them or at least discussing parts of the plot.
Lydia LaPutka
I was a HUGE Beverly Cleary fan "back in the day," when I was in elementary school and junior high. I loved finding a good author and sticking with him or her. I often read full series (Ramona series was one of them, of course!), and when I found a good author, I would read ALL of their books. I ran across this book and didn't recall reading it, so I decided to read it as a 46-year-old adult!!!

This book is very different from Cleary's other work because it is set during the time when few people
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Suzanne
This is pretty dated these days, better have the internet handy or an encyclopedia to look up certain words because young readers won't know what they are. That said it is a very cute story and an enjoyable read. Though I'm not sure presenting bleaching a horse was a good idea, had a conversation with my daughter about how that probably wouldn't be good for the horse- a good bath would have sufficed.... seems like bleach would burn the horse..but maybe bleach was different in the late 20s/early ...more
Audrey
Sep 10, 2011 Audrey rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children ages 5-11
This was a very simple, easy, and quick read. I first read this book many years ago when I was quite a bit younger. I remember enjoying it a lot then, and for some reason the part about the “generous pinch of baking powder” always stuck with me. So much so that the other day I added some baking powder to my pie crust…and then decided to reread this book. The reading level is quite low (I would guess it is geared for 5-11 year olds), but it was still a charming little story of a series of little ...more
Christy
Spunky Emily Bartlett lives in an old farmhouse in Pitchfork, Oregon'at a time when automobiles are brand-new inventions and libraries are a luxury few small towns can afford. Her runaway imagination leads her to bleach a horse, hold a very scary sleepover, and feed the hogs an unusual treat. But can she use her lively..
Brenda
Emily is an incredible girl stifled by the embarrassment of the small town leash. She loves her life, but would prefer if her exploits were not quite so public. For any child who has been embarrassed by well intentioned adults, and any child who wants to learn about life in 1920 something Oregon this book is terrifc
Kim
What fun! This is a little girl, who is much loved by her parents, but very unspoiled. She lives in a small town and the book is basically the story of how this small town manages to get a library started. Beautiful peek back into older times when the motor car was just getting started.
Diana
The chapters are really long for a children's book. I read this to my 5-year-old and we had to stop half-way through chapters most nights. But it's a really sweet book with very likable characters. I liked the simplicity of the story and the farm setting.
Lisa
One of my all-time favorite Beverly Cleary books from when I was a kid! I'm glad people don't really name their dogs "Prince" these days, otherwise I wouldn't be able to refrain from calling them "Plince." Hee hee.
Amy Rae
I know I read this as a child, but the only thing I remember is the time Emily gets the pigs drunk on rotten apples and they ruin everything.

I really gotta reread this, I guess is what I'm saying.
Patricia
Emily Bartlett is a little girl growing up in the 1920's in a small town out west. She has a healthy, vivid imagination and a happy home life with her parents on their farm. Her grandparent's own the general store, so Emily is the only girl in the town allowed to go behind the counter. Emily's cousin Muriel lives in Portland, Oregon, so when she tells Emily about the wonderful books she gets from the library, Emily wishes her town would get it's own library someday. Mama has what it takes to mak ...more
Gwen
"Emily, you are right," said Mama suddenly. "Go get the tablet of linen paper. I am going to write a letter for you to mail." -- "Who to?" asked Emily. --"The state library in Salem, " said Mama, who believed in never putting off until tomorrow what she could do today. "Times are changing. Other towns are getting libraries - there is already one in Cornelius. There's no reason why Pitchfork can't keep up with the times."

A spunky girl character, trimmed hats & drunk pigs, a reason to bleach a
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Alexandra
Read this book to my girls. They weren't necessarily asking to read it every night, but it was a fun story.
Hilary
Really cute Cleary book that I didn't read when I was younger.
Vanessa
May 21, 2013 Vanessa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Vanessa by: Chels
Shelves: children-s-books
It's hard to say how a child would perceive this book, but as an adult reading it for the first time, I loved it. Beverly Cleary captures the inner life of a child so perfectly: more than anything else, Emily just wants the adults in her life to take her seriously. I totally remember that feeling, and not understanding why grown-ups always felt the need to chuckle at things I said. Cleary also expertly depicts how children see adults--they catch all the meaningful looks we exchange over their he ...more
CJ
One of the few Cleary books I hadn't read as a kid. While this was cute, it wasn't quite Ramona :)
Y
Hmm. Alright. I didn't find it to be as charming as Beverly Cleary's Henry or Ramona books. Also, despite the "runaway imagination" in the title, nothing Emily does is really all that wild.

And I'm pretty sure Chinese, or at least most major dialects of Chinese, have both an r and an l phoneme in it?
Carrie Dalby
Lively romp in days gone by. Funny and sweet, always entertaining.
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Beverly Cleary (born April 12, 1916) is the author of over 30 books for young adults and children. Her characters are normal children facing challenges that many of us face growing up, and her stories are liberally laced with humour. Some of her best known and loved characters are Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice ("Beezus"), Henry Huggins, and Ralph S. Mouse.

Beverly Cleary was born Beverly At
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More about Beverly Cleary...
Beezus and Ramona (Ramona, #1) Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (Ramona, #6) The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Ralph S. Mouse, #1) Ramona the Pest (Ramona, #2) Ramona the Brave (Ramona, #3)

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