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Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree

Book review by
Kate James, Common Sense Media
Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree Book Poster Image
Outcast finds her niche in smart, funny read.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Some risky behaviors (writing fake letters, climbing a dangerously tall tree) don't have negative consequences. Junior high life is depicted very optimistically; in real life, Emma-Jean would probably be subject to a lot of ridicule.

Violence & Scariness

A kid falls out of a tree.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book addresses the death of a parent. Also, Emma-Jean writes several fake letters with no consequences.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byecv2000 November 13, 2011

"Unique" By someone age 10

Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell out of a Tree is an great book based on two girls who experience an event beggining in the girls bathroom. The two girls find themselves... Continue reading
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bypeony April 9, 2008
Kid, 11 years old September 10, 2010

Inspiring and Emotional (For me!)

The best book ever! I feel so misunderstood and Emma-Jean does a great job of showing, "Nobody's a sweet as a peach."
Teen, 13 years old Written byOceansaway13 October 27, 2009


Like the reviewer before me, I wasn't entertained while reading this book. It has an unoriginal plot and the characters are also run of the mill. I don... Continue reading

What's the story?

Unlike many kids in junior high, Emma-Jean is happy... in a way. By becoming a combination of \"Super Not-Care Girl\" and \"Nancy freakin' Drew,\" Emma-Jean can closely observe the kids around her, even if she can't count any of them among her friends. One of Emma-Jean's best friends had been her father who died two years before. Since then, she has detached herself from the kids at school. That's why it's all the more surprising when Colleen Pomerantz, a girl in her class, confides in her. On a whim, Emma-Jean helps out Colleen, only to set in motion a chain of events that will mean Emma-Jean might have to leave the safety of her outsider status and join the chaos of Gladstone Middle School.

Is it any good?

If only we could all have a friend like Emma-Jean Lazarus. Or at least be like Emma-Jean, whom fellow student Colleen Pomerantz thinks of enviously as "Super Not-Care Girl." Emma-Jean doesn't care what the other kids think of her, and it's a good thing too, because everyone thinks she's really strange. When her mom suggests they look up "strange" in the dictionary, they find an apt definition of Emma-Jean: "extraordinary, remarkable, singular." All words, incidentally, that describe Lauren Tarshis' new book.

Tarshis omits the hackneyed formula of the junior high melodrama where boys, crushes, and notes read aloud in class rule the day. Instead she addresses real problems kids face at school: friends who tend to bully or teachers who seem to have it "in" for you. Better still, the style of writing reflect's Emma-Jean's train of thought which is intelligent, logical, and humorous; the book is fun without ever feeling frivolous.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Emma-Jean copes with the death of her father. Does moving on with life mean you have to forget about the person who died? Also, do you know anyone at school who doesn't have friends? How are they treated? How do you treat them?

Book details

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