Title: Lady Emma in her Land of Wonder | Author & Illustrator: Martha M. Harrison | Publication Date: August 8, 2014 | Publisher: Incanto Press | Pages: 24 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 8 | Reviewed by: Renee (Mother)
Summary: Lady Emma is a young girl whose adventures lead her to missteps and mistakes. She tumbles and jumbles and falls out of her boat. She falls under a bridge and under a witch’s spell. She faces dragons and ogres. As her father guides her gently through life and she finds a prince, she ultimately learns that she must fix-up her own mix-ups before she can find her dreams. The character Lady Emma indirectly emerged from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.
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My Thoughts: Told in rhyme and featuring beautiful illustrations, Lady Emma in her Land of Wonder takes the reader on a journey of growth and maturity through the eyes of a young spirited girl, Emma. Emma bravely explores her world with many bumps and bruises along the way but always under the careful watch of those who love her most and who reinforce the message that she has the strength within herself to face any obstacles placed in her path.
Lady Emma in her Land of Wonder is an inspiring read for young girls. In the story, we are introduced to Emma as a young girl roughly the same age as a girl in the target readers’ age group. We see her physically develop into a young woman who eventually marries a prince; but, all along the way, she remains true to herself by fearlessly pursuing activities and interests that bring her happiness despite the risk that some of the activities carry. I loved this message!
One of the unique themes of the book is how the role of the father and the prince are portrayed. I was a bit concerned when the father was first introduced because “He was quick to her rescue through every dark day…” Then, the prince comes along and “He helped her each day, like her dear father had when good things would happen, or sometimes go bad.” At first, I was given the impression that the characters were portrayed in a gender stereotypical way. That is, that the princess was reckless and the men in her life were there to rescue her. But, as you read on, you discover that she has self-confidence because of the loving support she has from the people in her life. The only thing I would say is that to avoid “gender” issues, it would have been good to have a “mother” or another female character also supporting her.
I found the rhyming and meter to be solid in the book. I didn’t find myself tripping over words while reading it out loud. The illustrations are FANTASTIC! They are simple and colorful, featuring only a few key aspects per frame that were relevant to the story. I thought they were lovely. Of note, the physical book itself is sturdy featuring a hard front and back cover. The pages are also thick enough to withstand the flipping of pages and the binding appears to be very solid. It’s a beautiful book!
My Bottom Line: Lady Emma in her Land of Wonder is a delightful rhyming picture book taking the reader on a journey of a young girl as she blossoms from a curious and spirited child into a self-assured, self-confident, and adventurous young woman. This book features an important underlying message for young girls about staying true to oneself and having the confidence to overcome any obstacles that may come one’s way. I highly recommend this book, especially as a gift, to young girls ages 4 to 8.
* This book was provided to me by the publisher free-of-charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. *
About the Author: Martha M. Harrison
Dr. Martha M. Harrison’s previous books have all had an academic focus on language play, reading, children’s books, and the integration of the arts across the curriculum. She has trained over 2000 teachers in teaching reading and writing to children and young adults in grades K-12 and served as a designer of reading and writing curriculum and assessments for the State Departments of Education in Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida and California.
For the past two decades, her passion for literacy has guided her teaching of children’s and young adult literature and her successful authoring and implementation of reading and writing curriculum in education. She is a member of the Association of Children’s Literature (AChL) and the International Reading Association (IRA). Her scholarly articles have been published in Florida English Journal, a scholarly journal of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE); The New Advocate, a scholarly journal For Those Involved with Young People and Their Literature; and the National Education Association Library Series (NEA).
She has conducted numerous workshops on comparing the works of Maurice Sendak and Theodor S. Geisel, “Dr. Seuss”. She is currently teaching a course on Arts Integration Across the Curriculum at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California near San Francisco. Among her many scholarly publications is an early 1990 article entitled Teaching Thinking Skills to Gifted Children Using Children’s Literature and The Arts.
For more information visit http://incantopress.com/ladyemma