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It is the first in a series of interesting complexities about the "real" Emily Dickinson.

And yet, it is true that Emily was haunted by questions about life and death, and her own place in the world. More social and outgoing as a young girl, she attended school away from home suffering often, though, from homesickness. Gradually, fears about fitting in with the expected patterns of life in her day, and her own inner anxiety, caused her to withdraw.

She wrote to her brother, Austin:. I wish we were children now. I wish we were always children. How to grow up I do not know. Her father is sometimes portrayed as the villain in the piece, mostly absent, but controlling when at home. Yet, he did a surprising thing: he gave the perfect gift at the perfect time to Emily. Into Emily's life romped a special dog, the gift from her father. Emily was small in stature, becoming more and more anxious and perhaps depressed. It seems a tiny lapdog would have been just the thing to bring comfort. Perhaps because of his own anxiety and fear of the world, her father's insightful present opened a world of companionship, security and even adventure for his daughter.

He gave her a Newfoundland puppy. You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the Sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me She named him Carlo, after the dog in Jane Eyre.

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He became her special companion and friend; he was always by her side, whether calling on friends in the neighborhood or taking long walks in the woods surrounding her home. Carlo was her comforter in her darkest times. Late at night, as she wrote her poems, Carlo's concerned face, with a Newfoundland's soulful eyes, kept her company. After a particularly troubled time in her life, Emily emerged with a strong sense of herself as a poet.

A memorable introduction to an important poet. He was a dog, a Newfoundland, a great, slobbering, shaggy mess of a creature, which undercuts any notions of primness modern readers may harbor of Miss Dickinson. But her time with Carlo, some 16 years, was full of beauty and meaning, as expertly coaxed from her poems and letters.

Emily And Carlo Painting by Nancy Blum

Dickinson, who was born in , at age 19 received a puppy from her father during the winter of — A long and close relationship ensued. This book, with soft, watercolor illustrations by Catherine Stock, tells the story of an odd pair—a tiny, reclusive poet and a big friendly Newfoundland dog who were constant companions for 16 years. Together they explore the woods and world near Amherst, Massachusetts. And there are times when Emily simply shares her dreams as well as her poems while Carlo listens.

Young readers will enjoy the peaceful mood that the book evokes and may be encouraged to further explore the life of this famous American poet.

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She explains that the main events in the story are true—although she has added some fictional details. The backmatter also gives a bibliography, additional information about Emily Dickinson, and sources for the quotations. The lyrical text and colorful illustrations of Emily and Carlo will capture the hearts of young picture book readers.

The titular duo is Emily Dickinson and her dog, a present from her father to keep her company when her siblings leave home. Figley uses Dickinson's connection to her large, hairy Newfoundland both to re-envision the renowned recluse as a person with a long, loving relationship and to make her seemingly austere life more accessible to younger readers. Her partially imagined narrative recounts the poet's year friendship with her pet, from their rambles around the woods and meadows of Amhert to their separation during Emily's trips to medical treatment and their final parting when Carlo dies of old age.

He loved his adventures with Emily.

They were an odd pair—a tiny woman and a large, galumphing dog. But they were devoted to one another. Carlo gave Emily confidence to wander and explore the woods and hills near her home, and he listened to her stories and poems.

Emily Dickinson and Carlo

This touching story—delightfully illustrated by Catherine Stock—gives a new insight into the life of the famed reclusive poet of Amherst, Massachusetts. Learning of her close friendship and love for Carlo sheds a new light on the thoughts and feelings of a woman believed to be lonely. Carlo is present in much of her poetry, and readers learn of a woman of charm and wit who loved her constant companion. She is a member of the Emily Dickinson International Society.

She lives in Annandale, Virginia. That same winter he gave her a large, lively puppy. She laughed. Emily named him Carlo, after a dog in one of her favorite books. Continues… Excerpted from "Emily and Carlo" by. Excerpted by permission of Charlesbridge. All rights reserved.

No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. See All Customer Reviews.

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