Tom Lichtenheld & Ezra Fields-Meyer
Chronicle Books (2011)
Reviewed by Eli Lugo (age 5) and Mom for Reader Views (11/11)
This is a book called “E-mergency.” One day the letter E falls down the stairs and gets hurt. While she is resting in the hospital, the letter A and E gets hurt. So O takes E’s. All the words that had an E in them had to have an O instead. Everybody had to talk really funny like this: “I nood to oat a pioco of chocolato.” All the signs changed, too, like “Spood Limit.” But E still didn’t get better. The other alphabet letters figured out that the person reading the book was still saying E and that’s why E was still hurt. When the reader stopped saying E, she got better and went back to her alphabet friends. All the words and signs changed back, too. Then they had a big party with all the letters. I learned that E is a very important letter in the alphabet and it is hard to talk without it.
“E-mergency” had us in stitches as we read each page. It’s one of those books parents can appreciate because there’s enough humor to keep the parents interested, too, even at times when it may go over a young child’s head. One example that comes to mind is when the letter J stands in front of a mirror and asks, “Does this serif make my butt look big?” The authors do an outstanding job of using puns and clever art on each page (and even on the front and back covers). No space is wasted. It takes a few readings before you can appreciate all the subtle images on each page (Don’t miss the skeleton in the closet!). The characters themselves—the letters—even spell out words to reinforce the text. On one page, you’ll see them spell out A S A P as the EMTs rush in to aid E. Toward the end they spell R O A D T R I P when they decide to travel and spread the word about E. And the letter X is spotted several times throughout the book doing what he does best…marking a spot.
No amount of explaining can adequately convey the humor that the art adds to this book. Add the challenge of trying to pronounce words without the letter E (After all, she’s hurt so she can’t appear in any words until she’s well.) and you’ll laugh from start to finish. My child even spontaneously tries to hold a conversation without the letter E now, which is a real challenge seeing that the letter E is the most frequently used letter in the English language (12.702% according to the bar graph at the back of the book). “E-mergency!” is a truly clever, entertaining book.