Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary

Emily's Runaway Imagination by Beverly Cleary is one of that author's stand-alone works.

Emily 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 . . .

This is 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.)


  1. My library doesn't have this, but even though I love Cleary I don't think I'll buy it. Even Ramona is a bit if a hard sell.

    1. Our Ramona books still check out at a brisk pace, but some of the stand-alones just sit around. Part of my reason for reading this one was to see if it was something we needed to keep next time it shows up on a weeding list. I think my answer is "probably not."