________________ CM . . . . Volume XII Number 11 . . . . February 3, 2006


Emma at the Fair.

Margriet Ruurs. Illustrated by Barbara Spurll.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2005.
24 pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 1-55005-126-1.

Subject Headings:

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Catherine Hoyt.

**** /4


Then they announced the pigeon-plop. People anxiously crowded around. Emma strained her neck to see pigeons parading in a special cage with large bingo numbers on the floor. They pranced and promenaded and they ookerookooed. There was great excitement when one of the pigeons dropped a plop on a number on the floor. The ticket holder with that number won a prize and the pigeon won a gorgeous green ribbon on her cage. Emma had never seen such prancing.


It's fall on the farm when Emma encounters a jack-o'-lantern for the very first time while stalking a snack. The farming family heads off to the Fall Fair and brings Emma along in hopes of her winning a ribbon. The poultry barn smells like Noah's Ark with geese, ducks, turkeys, roosters and, of course, chickens, all competing for prizes. Emma watches closely as the contests start, and she hopes for hints on how to win a ribbon. Emma really tries to huff, puff and crow like the winning rooster, but no matter how hard she tries, she can't say cock-a-doodle-doo. Next Emma tries to strut, flaunt and gobble-de-gobble like the winning turkey, but the judges don't even notice her. But no matter how much her girl wants Emma to win, Emma draws the line when it came to acting like the winning pigeon. Emma is exhausted after all the hustle and bustle and decides to take a nap, but first she lays a perfect egg. When Emma awakes, it’s time for judging. Finally, Emma wins a ribbon for just being herself.

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     This award-winning author and illustrator duo has done it again with another great Emma book. This humorous tale is sure to be a hit with Emma fans and parents alike with the message to children to just be themselves. All of the Emma books are great read aloud choices.

     Illustrator Barbara Spurll is known for portraying "animals with attitude," and Emma is no exception. These brilliant watercolour illustrations complement the text perfectly. My favourite illustration is Emma's failed attempt to act like the winning turkey.

     Emma at the Fair is a recommended purchase for public libraries, a terrific choice for fall storytimes and a great gift choice. I'll be watching for Emma's next adventure!

Highly Recommended.

Catherine Hoyt has returned from maternity leave and is now the Acting Head of Public Services for New Brunswick Public Library Service. 


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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