Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary is one of that author's stand-alone works.
Bartlett is a lively young girl growing up in the small town of
Pitchfork, Oregon. She dreams of the town having its own library, and
her mother is working toward that goal as well. Emily has many amusing
adventures, like the time she feeds the hogs some rotted cider apples
just before her mother's fancy ladies' tea, causing the hogs to behave
in a decidedly undignified fashion. Or the time she bleaches the
family's white plowhorse, because her horse-crazy big-city cousin Muriel
is coming to visit and Emily wants to make a good impression. Or the
time she goes for a ride in her grandfather's new automobile, and they
encounter some interesting mechanical difficulties . . .
a gentle story, not as charming as the Ramona books, but still a
pleasant read. Some of the attitudes portrayed do not jibe with modern
sensibilities, but reflect the stereotypes and prejudices of the book's
time. I picked this up because I could not remember if I had read it as a
child -- now, having read it, I still can't remember! Some of the
episodes in the book seem familiar, while others don't strike any chords
for me. I would recommend it only to readers who are big fans of
Cleary's writing and wish to read everything she has written -- readers
unfamiliar with Cleary would be best advised to start with one of her
more popular series about Henry or Ramona or Ralph.
(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)