February 15, 2013

Emily and Carlo by Marty Rhodes Figley, illustrated by Catherine Stock

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:43 am by suebe2

Emily and Carlo
by Marty Rhodes Figley,
illustrated by Catherine Stock

“…I am all alone.”

When Emily wrote this to a friend, her sister was going to school in another town and her brother was at college.  Shy and smart, she probably found it difficult to connect with new people.

Her father saw how sad she was and bought her a puppy that Emily quickly named Carlo after a character in a favorite book.

By the time he was grown, Carlo was as big as Emily and he was her constant friend.  She wrote about him to her friends, she fed him heart shaped cakes as special treats, and she took him next door to visit her brother and his growing family.  Emily spent her days exploring the countryside, brushing Carlo and writing poetry.

The only times that Emily left Carlo were when she had to stay in the city for medical care.  Other than these two journeys, they were constant companions for 16 years.

Although this book is thoroughly researched and the story it tells is based on the author’s findings, it is not classified as nonfiction so is not a biography.  Italicized  quotes, like the one above, pepper the story.  These quotes are Emily’s own words, taken from her poems and letters.  In the Author’s Note, Figley explains that the primary events in this story are true but she had to use her imagination to fill in some details.

Catherine Stock’s watercolor paintings perfectly compliment this quiet, gentle story.  Not all are bright, but they always match the tone of the passage.

Consider this book for anyone who loves Emily Dickenson, dogs or poetry.  Given the importance that Carlo had in Emily’s life, it would also be a kind, loving gift for anyone who has recently lost a beloved pet or is sharing their days with a furred, feathered or scaly companion.




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