Cover image for Emily just in time
Emily just in time
Slepian, Jan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Philomel Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
As a small girl grows from "not-being-able, to now-she-can, " she wonders if she will ever spend a whole night at her grandmother's house without being afraid.
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PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books

On Order



Emily can now do all kinds of wonderful things she couldn't do when she was younger. She used to spill her milk when she poured it. Now she doesn't. She used to be scared to go down the twisty slide. Now she isn't. But there is still one thing that Emily cannot do. When nighttime comes and the darkness arrives, she still cannot spend the whole night at her grandma's. Will the someday ever come when Emily is no longer so afraid?In the classic tradition of Bedtime for Frances comes a warm, reassuring picture book for all children impatient to grow up, and for all parents who know that, alas, that day will come sooner than children think.Jan Slepian lives in Summit, NJ.Glo Coalson lives in Dallas, TX.

Author Notes

Jan Slepian was born Janice Berek in New York City on January 2, 1921. She received a bachelor's degree in psychology from Brooklyn College and a master's in speech therapy from New York University. She worked as a speech therapist in hospitals.

She was an author, essayist, and poet. She wrote books for children and young adults including The Alfred Summer, Lester's Turn, The Broccoli Tapes, Risk n' Roses, Pinocchio's Sister, and Emily Just in Time. Her collection of essays, Astonishment: Life in the Slow Lane, was published in 2008. She also wrote two collections of poetry entitled Jellybeans in Space and The Other Shoe. She died on November 2, 2016 at the age of 95.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-6. "This is how Emily grew from not-being-able, to now-she-can." So begins this delightful story about how a little bit of experience and a little bit of time help children conquer their fears and master new abilities. Emily once was afraid to go down the twisty slide. Now she can. She couldn't do a cartwheel until she grew a bit. Now she can. She isn't ready to spend a whole night at Grandma's yet, although she really wants to. But Grandma is patient and drives her home in the middle of the night whenever she gets scared. Eventually, she discovers she's even able to stay the night. Young children will relate to Emily's accomplishments, and the familiar themes presented in the text and in the pictures make the book good for story hours. Little ones who like this may also enjoy Robert Kraus' Little Louie the Baby Bloomer. (Reviewed April 15, 1998)0399230432Helen Rosenberg

Publisher's Weekly Review

Slepian's (The Alfred Summer; Lost Moose) leisurely paced tale fulfills a particular mission: it sounds a reassuring note to youngsters frustrated by how long it takes to grow "from not-being-able, to now-[you]-can." In Emily's case, she can't yet make it through the night at her grandmother's house. After Grandma puts Emily to bed, "her stomach bumps and her swallow hurts and she has to sit up to make room in her mouth for the cry to get out." The narrative chronicles three would-be sleepovers; each time Emily's fears prompt an early return home, escorted by the ever-calm Grandma until the eventual successful overnight. Coalson's (Hi!) illustrations pair a breezy, rough-hewn style with vague period details (Grandma, her gray braids neatly bound across her head, stitches at an antique sewing machine; there's a hat pin in her shapeless cloche; etc.). The artist injects some humor, chiefly through the invention of an unusually expressive cat not mentioned in the text. Those youngsters struggling to conquer their fears will take comfort in this tale of triumph in everyday victories. Ages 3-7. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2ÄYoung Emily grows from "not-being-able to now-she-can," and masters the twisty slide and pouring milk without spilling. As she grows older she does cartwheels, puts her face in the bath water, and colors within the lines. What she can't master is sleeping over at her loving grandma's. Despite night-lights and teddy bears, she just can't do it until she's ready. The third-person narrative is rhythmic and reassuring. The loving and genuine relationship between Emily and Grandma warms the scary nights, as the woman trudges out of bed to throw coat over nightgown and return her granddaughter to the safety of her nearby home. Coalson's full-color washes aptly capture the gentle moods and homey surroundings of Grandma's house. Childlike postures bring Emily to life, and details such as Grandma's hairnet and braid add legitimacy to this endearing tale set somewhere around the middle of the century. The theme of growing to independence is clear and satisfying.ÄCarolyn Noah, Central Mass. Regional Library System, Worcester, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.