Picture Book Spotlight: Emily’s Bunch

Emily’s Bunch by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Alice Numeroff Richter
Published: Macmillan, 1978
Buy on Amazon

Sibling rivalry is an infinite source of conflict. In Emily’s Bunch, Jeffrey and his much-younger sister Emily argue over what they’re wearing to an upcoming costume party. Emily’s first idea is to throw a pillowcase over her head and go as a ghost, but Jeffrey shoots it down.

The posture of a guy with an opinion that counts.

Jeffrey is a downer throughout the story and declares every idea Emily has “unoriginal.” Jeffrey’s own “original” idea is to dress as the poor boy who’s throwing the party, much to the party-planner’s irritation.

I invited you to my party so you could make fun of me, awesome.

Emily announces she’ll go as a bunch of grapes just to spite her brother, with no clue how she’ll manage it. There’s enough of a delay between that moment and the scene where she declares sweet victory that the reader has time to speculate. What are the ways someone could be a bunch of grapes?


In the Internet age, grape costumes are a Google search away. In 1978, ganging up on your brother in a purple paper bag with all of your friends like some grape-themed sequel to Children of the Corn sounded totally reasonable.

The last thing Jeffrey saw on Earth.

Emily’s Bunch is a girl-empowerment book with natural dialog and a 1970s aesthetic. Hardcovers are available from third-party sellers on Amazon.

Author of Strawberry Shortcake: Return of the Purple Pie Man, Disney’s Frozen Comic Collection, Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated and Littlest Pet Shop: Open for Business. She’s written for IDW Publishing, Hasbro, Lion Forge, American Greetings and Scholastic, and her work has been discussed in Comics Beat and The Washington Post. Subscribe to the newsletter

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