David's Reviews > Loud Emily

Loud Emily by Alexis O'Neill
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Loud Emily by Alexis O'Neill, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter is the story of Emily who is so loud that she shatters plates and frightens birds. Just before being sent away to boarding school, Emily answers a sign on a sailing ship and sets sail on an adventure on the high seas.

About to be sent to a boarding school, Emily answers a sign "LOUD HELP NEEDED. NOW." on a ship and is soon sailing off. She booms out orders, sang halyard chaneys, told stories, and crooned fo'c'sle ballads. After singing to the whales who rescue her ship from rocks hidden by fog, she booms out a warning DANGER, ROCKS HERE, saving many ships and their crews. She later spends foggy, stormy days cautioning ships away from the dangerous rocks from the lighthouse.

A very useful page of Sailors' Terms and Phrases begins the book. The text uses a large font with Emily's dialog in bold capital letters. Author's and Illustrators' notes conclude the book.

Carpenter's illustrations are rendered in oil paint and inspired by the works of American folk artists of the first half of the nineteenth century. Carpenter used an artist's medium called "crackle" to give the illustrations the cracked look of antique paintings. The endpapers are done in the style of scrimshaw carvings. My favorite images include the cover, the endpapers, Emily calling the servants, Emily and cook on the docks, Emily summoning the crew, four panels of Emily talking and crooning, whales rescuing the ship, Emily crossing the whale bridge, Emily cheered by the townspeople, and the final image.

This is a fun adventure featuring a young heroine. While I probably would hate having a real child that loud as a neighbor, I found this tall tale entertaining and the oil paintings quite excellent. This is recommended for school and public library collections.

For ages 5 to 8, adventure, individuality, loudness, tall tales, and fans of Alexis O'Neill and Nancy Carpenter.
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