The Mouse of Amherst by Elizabeth Spires

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A mouse's-eye-view of Emily Dickinson

When a mouse named Emmaline takes up residence behind the wainscoting of Emily Dickinson's bedroom, she wonders what it is that keeps Emily scribbling at her writing table throughout the day and into the night. Emmaline sneaks a look, and finds that it's poetry! Inspired, Emmaline writes her own first poem and secretly deposits it on Emily's desk. Emily answers with another poem, and a lively exchange begins. In this charming and fanciful introduction to Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Spires demonstrates the power of poetry to express our deepest feelings, while Claire A. Nivola's delicate pencil drawings capture the intricacies of life in Emily's world. Included are eight of Dickinson's most loved poems, with seven corresponding poems by Emmaline that are sure to bring out the poet in any child.

"A mouse becomes the perfect poetic companion to the reclusive poet Emily Dickinson in this heartfelt daydream from Spires." --Kirkus Reviews

"Filled with ardency and wit." --Starred, Publishers Weekly

"A sweetly written invitation to view life as more than crumb gathering and cheese nibbling." --The New York Times Book Review

"When the small mouse Emmaline moves into the Dickinson household, she accidentally reads some scraps of verse penned by Emily. Reading poems inspires the rodent to write her own lines on the back of Emily's paper, and to leave it for the poet to find. Thus the two become 'pen pals'...This diminutive little book, with its shy black-and-white line drawings and amusing plot, is an idel introduction to Dickinson's poetry. It's also a strong advocate for the power of the written word." --Kirkus Reviews

"Emmaline's newfound enthusiasm and interpretations of Dickinson's poetry will likely coincide with reader's own responses. A brief afterword with biographical information explains just how this clever novel unmasks the 'mouse.'" --Starred, Publishers Weekly

Elizabeth Spires lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Claire A. Nivola has illustrated several children's books. She lives in Newton Highlands, Massachusetts.

Target Age: 7-9

St. Martin's Press

Pub Date: April 09, 2001

0.19" H x 7.32" L x 5.09" W 

64 pages