Emily’s Fortune by Phyllis Naylor is a delightful 147 pages. This book could be enjoyed independently by a fairly new reader, with slightly larger print and spacing or as a read-aloud, which is how we enjoyed it.
Emily is a quiet and timid girl who finds herself suddenly orphaned. The only family she has is an aunt by marriage, a mean uncle, and her turtle named Rufus.
Arrangements are made by some neighbor ladies (Mrs. Ready, Mrs. Aim, and Mrs. Fire) to help Emily reach her Aunt’s home in Redbud. Unfortunately other arrangements are also being made. Dreadful arrangements!
Emily finds herself being chased by the Catchum Child-Catching Services who are trying to force Emily to live with her mean, and selfish Uncle Victor. Luckily for her she meets Jackson, who is a more experienced orphan. Together, they travel by train, and then horse and wagon toward Aunt Hilda’s.
As if dodging the Child-Catchers wasn’t enough to worry about, The newspapers are running a story all about “Emily Wiggins - the missing girl to inherit a fortune”. Poor Emily.
Jackson and Emily devise a plan to disguise Emily as Eli - A boy. Their plan seems to be working well until Uncle Victor shows up looking for his reward.
Was this the beatin’ cheatin’ end of the line for Emily?
You’ll have to read it for yourself to find out.
This book is really playful with words. At the end of each chapter there seemed to be a cliff hanger and a question in large letters like:
Where in tumblin’ tarnation was Emily supposed to sleep?
How in the ding-dong dickens could she really trust him?
What in pickin’ poppies could possibly happen next?
This would be a good book to suggest to a reluctant reader, as it is not too long, and each chapter leaves you hanging and wanting to see what happens next.