Emma's Rug

Allen Say, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-395-74294-5
As a small child, Emma has two noteworthy practices: she stares for long periods at the fuzzy white rug she has had since birth, and she spends quite a bit of time drawing intently. When she enters school and garners many prizes for her artwork, it becomes clear that the seemingly blank rug is the source of her inspiration. Knowing more than Emma's mother, youngsters will wish they could intervene when she decides, soon after Emma is feted as the winner of a citywide art competition, that the now-dingy rug needs a washing and throws it into the machine. Caldecott Medalist Say's (Grandfather's Journey) deftly understated tale leaves ample room for readers' own interpretations. Yet it is his superb visual images, which have the semblance of faultlessly composed photographs, that make the most indelible mark here. As he has so affectingly accomplished with the characters in his previous works, Say fills Emma's face with abundant expression; her moments of anguish when she thinks she has lost the source of her art and her subsequent despondency seem wrenchingly real. Equally convincing is the child's tentative hopefulness when, in the book's most innovative picture, she spies the faces of many intriguing creatures (which Say hides playfully around her) begging to be drawn. An impressive creation, to be appreciated on many levels. All ages. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/28/1996
Release date: 10/01/1996
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