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Ella, the elegant but shy elephant, has a new challenge in this third entry in the successful series.
This time her school is planning a talent show and all the little elephants have their acts planned
except Ella. She struggles to find her own special ability, unsuccessfully trying to play the drums,
juggle or sing. Finally, Ella takes over the organization of the talent show, including providing refreshments, making backstage costume repairs and rescuing Lola the monkey. Ella is recognized on stage for her contributions, and in the satisfying conclusion, she realizes that she does indeed have her own valuable talent: organizational ability. The calm, confident tone of the text is a fine match for the whimsical illustrations that convey Ella's charmingly old-fashioned world on Elephant Island. Though the story has a nostalgic flavor, Ella's concerns are timeless. (Picture book. 3-6)
PreS-Gr 2Another lovely entry about an endearing elephant. Ella is desperately worried about her school's upcoming talent show. Her shyness and lack of a “special natural ability” seem to preclude her participation. From juggling to singing, she tries various activities with disastrous results. Still, she helps to organize the event and assists her classmates, and, on the big night, her true giftbeing a good friendshines forth. The book's charming, old-fashioned quality is emphasized by fluid illustrations reminiscent of those in the “Babar” and “Curious George” series. However, while the simplicity of the character depictions will make readers smile, it sometimes results in a lack of expression on the elephants' faces. Regardless, color and shadow are masterfully used to emphasize the main action in each scene while providing a richly detailed background. The story is driven by short bursts of dialogue, and key points are highlighted by moments of introspection. While primary-grade children will best sympathize with Ella's frustration and her conflicted feelings about being in the spotlight, younger children who have ever felt left out, inept, or just a little bit different will also find the story appealing.Tamara E. Richman, Somerset County Library System, Bridgewater, NJ
Ella, the adorable little elephant last seen in Ella Takes the Cake (2005), gets bad newsthere's going to be a talent show at her school. Shy, and sure she has no talent, Ella brushes off suggestions that she recite a poem, and her attempts at juggling fail. Ella isn't shy about helping the talent show committee, however, painting signs, making medals, and planning the program. On the day of the show, she still doesn't know what she's going to do, but she's soon busy sewing a hole in a dancer's tights and helping a performer's monkey jump from the rafters. Prizes are handed out, but the applause goes to Ella for being “a very special friend.” The question of Ella's performance is dropped midway, only to appear again the day of the show, but children will be probably be too entranced to worry about particulars. With artwork that evokes the best of picture-book art of the mid-twentieth century (Bemelmans, Rey, DeBrunhoff) and take a cozy look at childhood concerns, this is one both kids and parents will enjoy. Ilene Cooper