Written by Patricia Hermes
Emma’s family had the very best nanny ever! Emma and her four siblings adored Annie. What a shock when they found out, at almost the same time, that not only was Mom having another baby, but Annie was getting married. Whatever would Emma do? Where would she and her older brother Tim go when they were worried or scared? Annie had always welcomed them into her upstairs apartment at such times. Because Emma’s parents had offered to have Annie’s wedding in their home, Emma had to wait to paint her room the wonderful, electric blue color she had picked out. Two days before Annie’s family was due to arrive from Ireland, Emma decided to turn her closet into a “safe place”, somewhere to go when she was scared or worried. The first step was to paint it. Her parents had said she could not paint her room, but did not say anything about her closet. The next morning Mom and Dad found out about Emma’s middle of the night paint job when they found puppy paw prints all over the new floor in the entryway. What a horrible dilemma! The wedding was just two days away. It was going to cost thousands of dollars to fix the floors, but they could not be fixed before the wedding. Emma finally remembered the paint remover the vet had used to get the paint off of Woof’s feet when they took Woof and Marmaduke, Emma’s pet ferret, to the vet. She tried that on the floor and it worked! Now the house would look perfect for the wedding. Ah, the wedding. It was glorious. When Emma saw how happy Annie was she knew that “everything was going to be all, all right”.
This sweet story would make a wonderful read aloud in a third grade classroom. There are many prediction, problem solving, and vocabulary possibilities. What will the family do if Annie moves out of their home? Will Mom and Dad be able to handle SIX children without a live-in nanny? What is a nanny? Why would you need a nanny? What would you do someone you loved might move away so that you could not see them every day? What does it mean that “Emma screwed up her face”?
Teaching children to talk to adults about their feelings is not always so easy. Had Emma talked to her parents about her feelings, maybe they would have helped her create a safe place in her closet. This would have prevented many problems and headaches. Emma’s dilemma helps children see what can happen when they (and sometimes even adults) try to handle things on their own.
Patricia Hermes (http://www.patriciahermes.com/) has written a series of Emma Dilemma books. Although Emma is different from Junie B. Jones and Agnes from The Secret Knock Club, readers will see many similarities. Emma’s relationship with her brother Tim and their adventures will appeal to both girls and boys. Even parents might learn a thing or two.