Emily and Carlo

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday
hosted today at Sally's Bookshelf
and joins It's Monday!
What are you reading?

(pub. 2.1.2012) 32 pages 

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

     and Illustrator: Catherine Stock

haracter: Emily Dickinson

O verview from the jacket flap: 

      "They made a strange pair: one giant dog and one slight girl.
       When most people think of Emily Dickinson, they picture a thin, sad-looking woman dressed in white, living alone in a big house, scribbling poems on scraps of paper.
       But Emily was not alone. Her dog, Carlo -a large, floppy, drooly Newfoundland - was her constant companion, her 'shaggy ally' in the world. Together Emily and Carlo explored the woods and town around them, visiting friends and enjoying each other's company.
       Marty Rhodes Figley's lyrical text and Catherine Stock's luminous art create a fresh look at this well-known, but seldom understood, American poet."

T antalizing taste: 

       "Emily shared her hopes, her dreams - her poetry.
        Carlo listened, as a good friend should.

        'I talk of all these things with Carlo, and his eyes grow
         meaning, and his shaggy feet keep a slower pace.'"

and something more: The author, Mary Rhodes Figley, of Emily and Carlo is quite the Emily Dickinson scholar. She is a member of the Emily Dickinson International Society, and her academic paper on Emily and Carlo was published in The Emily Dickinson Journal.  And, as a Frances Perkins Scholar at Mount Holyoke College, Figley took a class about Emily at the Emily Dickinson Homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts. 
             I particularly liked Figley's personal connection to this story, as she explained in the Author's Note: "After my Emily Dickinson class was finished, I volunteered next door at the Evergreens [Emily's brother's house] for a semester. When I walked down the path between the two houses, I could imagine Carlo chasing squirrels or being ordered off the porch by Emily's sister, Vinnie. He must have been a hard dog to ignore but an easy dog for Emily to love." Her description reminds me of my sweet lovable black Lab who sits by my feet while I write, and often nudges me with a wet nose when it's time to go for a walk.


Anonymous said...

Michael Bedard and Barbara Cooney's EMILY has been a favorite for a long, long time. I look forward to checking out EMILY AND CARLO and comparing the two.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Loree Burns

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Loree,
Yes, I think these two books would be good companion books. Thanks for stopping by!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

I never knew Emily Dickinson had a dog, much less a galumphing Newfoundland! This sounds like a charming book...and she is one of my most adored poets, so I'll have to be on the lookout for it.

Resh said...

I haven't read this book Jeanne...thanks for suggesting on Non Fiction Mondays. We have read a few women biographies, will add this one to the list :)

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks for stopping by, Reshama. I think you'll enjoy this book -- the dog connection is very kid-friendly.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Tara, I know! Isn't it great to envision her with a big galumphing Newfoundland -- the opposite of all the portrayals of her. Thanks for stopping by

Sue Heavenrich said...

White dress... check.
poetry.... check.
Dog? Big dog? wow - I never ever knew about that! Thanks for sharing this book and expanding my horizons.

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Hi there Jeanne, I've been seeing this book around but haven't had a chance to read it yet - your review makes me want to pick it up. Dickinson's poetry is just so hauntingly beautiful, one would be interested to find out more about her life. I'm glad that you shared the backstory behind the writing of this picture book - the author sounds like a true Dickinsonian Scholar indeed. :)

Jen said...

What an interesting book! I read a picture book not that long about about a girl who's aunt was Emily Dickinson...although now I can't remember the title and I could be wrong. It could have been a different poet. Either way, I like the idea of a different perspective of an author's story.