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My Uncle Emily
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My Uncle Emily

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  211 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
This six-year-old has an uncle like no other! His uncle wears long white dresses and never smokes cigars. Gilbert's uncle is none other than Emily Dickinson . . . Uncle Emily he calls her. And how he loves her. He knows that she writes poems about everything, even dead bees. But it's a poem about truth that, after a fracas in school, he remembers best. "Tell all the ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 14th 2009 by Philomel Books
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Linda Lipko
My usual pattern is that when I find an author I enjoy, I exhaust all or most of his/her works and read as many as possible.

Jane Yolen is no exception. She brings a depth of emotion to her works without over dramatization.

This most recent read is based on a true story of Emily Dickinson and the special relationship she had with her nephew.

Gilbert was very attached to his Uncle Emily, so named because it became a family endearment for Emily.

When Emily gives Gilbert a dead bee and a poem for his t
Aug 17, 2009 Scope rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
While the work of American poet Emily Dickinson may be difficult for some readers to fully wrap their heads around, My Uncle Emily tells a tale of honesty that could hit home.

As spelled out in the afterword, some elements of this story are real, some are fictionalized. The main character here is not Emily Dickinson, but her nephew Gilbert (”Gib”). After “Uncle Emily” gives Gilbert a poem to bring to class, he is bullied on the playground. Gib defends Uncle with his fists, but in doing so hurts h
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Gib has a special connection with his "Uncle" Emily (Emily Dickinson)---they enjoy bees and poems. Uncle Emily gives Gib a poem to share in school and a little boy teases him for it, even calling Uncle Emily an unkind name. Gib stands up to this Emily but not in a manner that would please Uncle Emily. Back home, Gib learns an important lesson about telling the truth through poetry.

I enjoyed how poetic lines were scattered throughout the story. The illustrations were lovely but somehow didn't qui
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This is a beautifully written story about the relationship between poet Emily Dickinson and one of her nephews. It was quaint and pleasant and I LOVED the illustrations. I think Nancy Carpenter is an illustrator to look for in the future--maybe even a Caldecott candidate. Made me want to grab my volume of Dickinson's poems and dip in again. Recommended especially for poetry fans.
Sep 15, 2016 Heidi rated it liked it
As an adult I enjoyed this, as I've not read much about Emily Dickinson. For my kiddos this is still a bit too old in age of a read for them to understand much. A great introduction to the poet though.
Mar 11, 2015 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This book offers a glimpse into the life of Emily Dickinson and her interactions with her family. The story is a fictionalized account of the events surrounding an actual event.

Ms. Dickinson gave her nephew a poem to bring to his teacher sometime in 1881, and many of the actions in the story actually occurred, although perhaps not exactly in the timeframe portrayed in the story.

The pen and ink and digital media illustrations are terrific and really convey a sense of the time of the late 1800s.
Emily Stueven
Jan 13, 2013 Emily Stueven rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Here's a children's book for the children of English majors! I got a little bit excited when I happened upon it and saw it's about Emily Dickinson, one of my favorite poets and a writer whose works I taught during my time as a high school English teacher. I always thought the little details of Dickinson's life were enchanting, especially her baking of cakes to share with neighbors--always with the extra gift of a poem attached. Here, some of the poet's biography is blended with some of her lines ...more
Nov 08, 2009 Jodysegal rated it liked it
Recommends it for: K-3
2.5 Stars: My Uncle Emily is a challenging read. Presented in picture book format and through the first person lens of the poet Emily Dickinson’s six-year-old nephew Gib, author Jane Yolen crafts a story around two Dickinson poems, “The Bumble Bee’s Religion” and “Tell All the Truth.” In Yolen’s story, Dickinson asks her nephew to deliver the first poem to his teacher. When young Gib feels that neither the poem nor his Aunt is treated with the proper respect, he lands himself in trouble by ...more
Katie Fitzgerald
Emily Dickinson and her nephew Gib share a special connection. When she sends him to school with a poem, though, the other boys make fun of her, calling her a "reckless" and insulting her strange style of dress. When Gib tells the story to the family, he leaves out the part where he punches another boy in the nose, but Uncle Emily figures him out and teaches him to "tell the truth, but tell it slant." An author's note explains which parts of this story are true, and which are embellished.

I like
Paul  Hankins
In the coffee table book, The Dickinsons of Amherst, the relationship between Emily and Gib is explored. Pictures of a young Gib show him to be a very handsome young man with shoulder length blond hair. Pictures of Gib's toys also appear in the book.

I mention the coffee table book we have in Room 407 because what Jane has created in this picture book is like a quick peek through a longer work. The book also serves as a wonderful companion to a poem that doesn't often appear in textbooks. This ma
Rosa Cline
Aug 12, 2014 Rosa Cline rated it liked it
Shelves: kids, mine-read
This book kind of threw me for a loop. By the title (without reading what the story was about, I checked this out because of it being written by Jane Yolen.) I figured it would be a story to explain to children about transgender or something like that but come to find out it's a true story of Emily Dickinson! And at the back of the book is a summary of what in the story is true about Emily. And most of this story is the truth and a wonderful tribute to her nephew whom passes away a couple of ...more
KidsFiction Teton County Library
Teton Co Call No: J Picture Yolen J
Julia's rating: 4 stars

I've been discovering some wonderful picture books featuring renowned poets lately. Such fun! This one - featuring Emily Dickinson as "Uncle Emily" - is a charming story with equally charming illustrations by Nancy Carpenter. The main character, a six-year-old Gib, enjoys a special relationship with his aunt, the poet. The narrative involves his interactions with a bully at school and his challenge to tell the story of what happened - how
A fictionalized account of a true story. Yolen writes of Emily Dickinson, known as "Uncle Emily" to her nephew Gib. She gives him a dead bee and a poem to take to his teacher the next day. He does but is worried about the reaction of his classmates. One boy reacts badly and Gib punches him in the nose. When Uncle Emily asks why he is limping, Gib only tells part of the story. Emily encourages him to tell the whole truth but writes it in a poem so that he will understand how to tell the story.

Yalonda Neff
This a great book to introduce students to the author, Emily Dickinson. Dickinson lead a reclusive life but this book provides readers with an introspective look at the relationship between Dickinson and her nephew. This book can appeal to students because it spot lights a unique relationship between Emily Dickinson who is called Uncle Emily and sends her nephew to school poems that he does not understand to read to his teacher. Many students have non traditional relationships with their family ...more
Jennifer Heise
I love Emily Dickinson, so I had to read this. One of Emily Dickinson's young nephews gets a dead bee and a poem from Dickinson to give to his teacher. There are both negative and positive reactions from his class... but Emily and her nephew bond over a poem afterward. This book is lyrical and has beautiful illustrations, but it just didn't catch my enthusiasm somehow. (view spoiler) ...more
Carey Hanson
Dec 14, 2011 Carey Hanson rated it liked it
Shelves: t-and-l-544
copyright 2009

This is the story of Gilbert whose aunt is Emily Dickinson but he calls her Uncle Emily. Emily's poems are woven into the story. At the end of the book, the author includes a section called "What is True about This Story." Very neat book - I was interested in this book because all I remember about Emily Dickinson from high school is that all of her poems can be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas".
Oct 26, 2010 Beth rated it it was ok
A story of Emily Dickinson sharing her poems with her young nephew. The story is detailed and simply told. Many parts of the narrative fall flat or seem to point to something that is beyond even adults' understanding. the art is pleasant enough and evokes Dickinson and her time and manner, but is nothing exceptional.

Jane Yolen is such a gifted writer; I'd love to know what she was trying to accomplish with this story.

Not particularly recommended except to serious Dickinson or Yolen fans.
Beth Wood
Aug 14, 2013 Beth Wood rated it did not like it
I hate to write bad reviews. BUT I think sometimes well-known authors, like Jane Yolen, get published because they are well-known and not necessarily because a particular work hits the mark. Who is the target for this book? It wouldn't hold a child's interest, and it didn't really hold mine, either.
Jan 28, 2010 Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-picture-books
My Uncle Emily--Gilbert calls his Aunt "Uncle Emily"--she is the famous poet Emily Dickinson. She is peculiar but he loves her, she gives him a poem about a dead bee. When a boy at school makes fun of his aunt, he punches him. Gilbert hides the story about the fight but his aunt gives him a poem about telling the truth.
Jan 22, 2011 Dianna rated it liked it
I liked this book. It was really well done and gave lots of fun information (especially in the note at the end) about Emily Dickinson, of whom I am a fan. But I honestly can't see much appeal in this book for kids. It might be good for elementary school students studying poetry, maybe?
Destinee Sutton
This is one of those books that's really beautiful, but does not feel like it was written for children so much as librarians and English teachers. Told from the perspective of Emily Dickinson's six-year-old nephew, it illuminates some of her poetry and a few details of her life. But mostly it's about a little boy's love for his aunt.

Probably too difficult for anyone younger than 10.
Mar 06, 2010 Lacy rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
Really lovely story about Emily Dickinson, "uncle Emily," and her nephew Gilbert. She writes a poem for him to take to school and he gets into a fight with a classmate over the poem. Illustrations are old-fashioned and beautiful - perfect for this historical tale. Features Dickinson's poem, "Tell all the Truth."
A lovely picture book that offers young readers a glimpse into who Emily Dickinson was. Through her relationship with her young nephew, we learn more about her, her poems and her world. The illustrations are a perfect match for the late 1800s setting. I think it could be used with older kids too, and anyone studying Dickinson's poetry would enjoy it.
Aug 20, 2015 Meegan rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
I picked this book up because of the strange title. The reader never figures out why Gilbert calls his aunt Uncle Emily, which is one thing I would have added. But this book does talk about poetry and the special bond tat can occur between an aunt and her nephew. I would use this in a classroom setting where we are learning about poetry. So between third and sixth grade.
Nov 28, 2011 Melinda rated it really liked it
This gorgeously written and illustrated story of Emily Dickinson's relationship with the boys next door is definitely intended for older children. My 5-year-old enjoys having it read to her; I wonder how much of the complexity she is absorbing, but she asks for it again and again, so something must be sinking through.
Best for older children, the Uncle Emily is the great poet Emily Dickinson, and in this book she shares a poem with the class of one of her young nephews. He finds he must defend her to his class, which he successfully does, with even the largest bully writing a thank you note to "Uncle" Emily in rhyme to apologize.
Angie Quantrell
Apr 23, 2016 Angie Quantrell rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
My Uncle Emily is a story about Emily Dickinson and her family. I found this book to be a neat way to learn about the famous poet. Since I've visited her home in Amherst, I loved reading about her family and her home in a book I accidentally found in the library. Good find!
A heart-warming read-aloud about the tender love between a young boy and his unusual aunt. Can lead to some wonderful discussions on all sorts of topics. I suspect this story will come to mind each time I see a fat bumblebee.
Jan 08, 2015 Grey rated it it was amazing
I adore Jane Yolen. The first book of hers I read was Briar Rose. Then when I had children, I got hooked on the "How do dinosaurs" series. It would be impossible to count how many times we read "How do dinosaurs say good night." It's our favorite.
Mar 24, 2011 Rachel rated it really liked it
Cute story based off real-life events of a young boy named Gib and his "uncle" Emily Dickinson, bees and 2 poems that she wrote him. Loved the illustrations, that showed Ms. Dickinson in a very humane and loving way (I always thought she was a little creepy to be honest).
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in ...more
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