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Book Reviewed Emily by Michael Bedard | 978-0385306973
Book Cover
Grade Level K - 3

Emily Dickinson, sometimes known for her eccentricities, is one of our greatest American poets. Her style is unique and accessible; her poems are not long, but they are deep.

Emily is a great little book about a little girl who goes to visit Emily with her mother. Along the way she learns about myth, mystery, poetry and Emily Dickinson.

For your older students see our post about the book The Mouse of Amherst: Emily Dickinson for Kids »

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Planning to Use This Book?

Here are some additional resources for your students.

Sniffy (professor)

Vocabulary from Emily

Sniffy is a hamster...a talking hamster who likes words. A hamster wordsmith, I guess you could call him. Read along (or just listen) as Sniffy defines and/or illustrates the following words from the reading.


A myth? Sometimes people use the word "myth" to mean something that isn't true, like "It's a myth that hamsters are skinny." Well, it's very clear that I am not skinny, but I am cute. A myth is also a story that has been told for thousands of years. They are often stories about supernatural beings like gods and goddesses or very strong men and very beautiful women. Apparently, there are no myths about hamsters, but I'm going to change that. Someday they'll tell the story of Sniffy, the hamster, the super wordsmith, the warrior of definitions—too bad I won't be around to hear it.

Sniffy (laughing)


Mystery? What is mystery? Well, it's a mystery to me! Ha, ha, ha, ha. I crack myself up. A mystery is something that is hard or even impossible to understand. Now when something is hard or impossible to understand and it fills us with wonder and awe and, and what I call, Wowness, then that's a mystery. Do you know what wowness is? Well, I'll tell you. When you are at the beach and you can smell the ocean and hear the seagulls and feel the cool breeze of a summer evening and you see the sun setting on the horizon and you look out across the surface of the sea and say, "Wooowwwwwww!" That's wowness and that's mystery. Wow!"

Sniffy (crazy)


Bellflower (Bluebell) isolated on white backgroundBluebells are bulbous plants—that means they grow from bulbs, not light bulbs, that would just be silly, though I did plant a light bulb once and it grew into a tree that had Christmas lights for fruit—anyway, look at the picture, bluebells have flowers that look like little trumpets. Fact is, we in the hamster world use them in our rock bands. I play the bluebell, but, unfortunately, I usually always eat it before the end of the song. Have I told you I like to eat?

Sniffy (jumping)

Discussion Questions for Emily

  • Why do you think someone would rarely leave their house?
  • What does Emily mean when she says about listening to music, “It would be Spring to me”?
  • The little girl says, “Maybe people are a mystery, too, sometimes.” What do you think this means?
  • What do you think Emily means when she says that the little girl is poetry?
  • What do you think the little girl means when she says, “So many, many things are Mystery”?

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