Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2005 September #2 PreS-Gr. 2. Polacco's artwork is as strong as ever in a warm story that celebrates imaginary friends. The young, pigtailed narrator introduces Emma Kate, a handsome gray elephant. "We do just about everything together!" says the girl, and, indeed, the following spreads show the friends walking to school, swinging at recess, and reading and dreaming together. When the girl tells her parents about the fun she has with Emma Kate, they respond, "You have such an imagination," indicating that the elephant is imaginary. But in Polacco's expertly rendered, energetic graphite drawings, Emma Kate is such a solid presence that children, particularly those with imaginary friends, will feel that even if Emma Kate is imagined, the friendship is real. Familiar scenes at school and home extend the story's comforting tone, and the few bright spots of paint, which stand out strongly against the black-and-white drawings (the girl's red dress is a constant focal point), reinforce the delicious sense of two worlds overlapping. ((Reviewed September 15, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews : PW Reviews 2005 August #2 Polacco (An Orange for Frankie) takes a familiar premise and turns it into food for thought. The brief and knowing text, narrated by an unnamed pigtailed girl, catalogs the many ways the title character makes the perfect best friend ("We sit together in the cafâ-gym-a-torium at lunch. When we get home from school, we ride our bikes together"). That Emma Kate is also a large gray elephant (her hilariously humongous derriÅ re spills off one spread) seems to make their bond more meaningful. Emma Kate is a modest masterpiece, with tiny expressive eyes shining through masses of exuberantly cross-hatched flesh. A generous sense of humor, keen observation and a seemingly effortless, expert draftsmanship unite in the way the animal comports itself. Polacco splits the difference between fantasy and reality by demonstrating how the pretend pachyderm's girth wreaks genuine havoc. In one scene, as the girl and Emma Kate read on the sofa (sharp-eyed readers will note that the literary selection is one of Dr. Seuss's Horton books) the section underneath the elephant has flattened like a pancake. Grown-ups may detect a more elegiac undercurrent at work here. While most of the pictures are handsomely rendered in gray pencil, the narrator's old-fashioned dress, anklet socks and Mary Janes appear in radiant red and aqua; it's as if Polacco sees her narrator as a magical emissary from a more innocent yet fearlessly imaginative time. Ages 3-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews : SLJ Reviews 2005 November
PreS-K- Emma Kate and her elephant best friend sit next to one another in school, share lunches, play at recess, finish their homework, and go to soccer practice. They even have their tonsils out at the same time, sharing a hospital bed and gallons of pink ice cream. The girl's bright red dress stands out against the white background and soft charcoal-gray pencil drawings of the large friendly elephant. Subtle hints in the illustrations of the dress, a license plate that reads "BIGMOME," and a hospital chart lead readers to the surprise ending: Momma and Daddy elephant comment on their child's active imagination as they are told all about her day with Emma Kate. The only possible drawback to this otherwise amiable story of imaginary friendship is the fact that the classmates are human, making readers think twice about the conclusion.-Kristine M. Casper, Huntington Public Library, NY
[Page 103]. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.