Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls by Lynne Jonell

Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls by Lynne Jonell

This is the second book of a series. You can read my review of the first book here.

My Mom-Meter gives this particular book an overall safety rating of 2 (Moderately Safe) for ages 8 and up.
Emmy and the Home for Troubled Girls picks up with Emmy wishing that she had more normal friends, since most of her friends are rodents. Miss Barmy, the nanny that tried to kill Emmy’s parents in the first book, is plotting revenge for being turned into a rodent. Emmy learns that Miss Barmy had shrunk all of the girls she had nannied (after killing their parents) and that all of the girls had been living in a dollhouse at Miss Barmy’s parents’ house. There is a sign on the dollhouse “Home for Troubled Girls.” Once Miss Barmy became a rat, she and Cheswisk (a scientist that is so in love, he became a rat to stay with her) moved into the dollhouse and the girls were moved to a shoebox in the attic. Miss Barmy’s mother is cruel and uses the shrunken girls to entertain her. Miss Barmy’s father is kind to them, but too weak-willed to stand up to his wife and daughter. There is a wishing mouse that grants wishes for three days twice a year, dependent on the solstice, but he doesn’t ask you to make a wish, he just grants whatever wish he hears first. Joe wishes he would break his leg so he wouldn’t have to go to soccer camp, and then he does break his leg. Miss Barmy plans to steal some priceless jewels from Emmy’s family through a ruse of a beauty pageant in Rodent City. Emmy turns her back on a rodent friend, Sissy, while trying to fit in with some popular girls. Sissy nearly dies because of Emmy’s actions, and all of Rodent City turns against Emmy. In the midst of it all, Emmy and her friends rescue the tiny girls and end up foiling Miss Barmy’s robbery.

This book was not as entertaining as the first one. Emmy’s struggle with fitting in and her guilt over Sissy’s injury seemed to overtake the plot. If your child has read the first book, they will probably be interested in this one, but it simply was not as well-written as the first.

Here are the potential moral issues parents might wish to talk with their kids about:

  • Emmy wishes she could be more normal and tries to turn away from her rodent friends. Potential Discussion Point: Do you ever wish that something about you was different? Why do you think you feel that way?
  • Emmy chooses not to tell her parents or Joe’s uncle the truth about the missing girls. Potential Discussion Point: Do you think there are times when it is better to hide the truth? Do you think Emmy’s parents could have helped her if they knew the truth?
  • Emmy turns away from Sissy when the girls hit Sissy with a rock. Potential Discussion Point: Why did Emmy leave Sissy? What would you do in that situation?
  • The wishing mouse granted several strange wishes. Potential Discussion Point: Was it helpful to have wishes granted? If you knew that your wishes would be granted, would you say things the way you do now or would you carefully watch your words?
  • Emmy gives the “Princess Pretty” tiara to Sissy, crowning her “Princess Gritty” because of her determination and guts. Potential Discussion Point: What do you think is more important: the way you look or the way you behave?

From a kid’s perspective: “I think kids 8+ who like rodents, mystery, magic type things, or secret worlds will enjoy it. Personally I give it 2 1/2 out of 5 stars. I also think it is worse than the last book.

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So what do you think?

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