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Ellen Tebbits

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Overview

Ellen was eight years old and wore bands on her teeth. Her best friend had just moved away and she missed her. Still, as she walked to the Spofford School of the Dance one Saturday, she was almost glad she had no best friend. Best friends do not have secrets from each other, and Ellen had a secret she did not want to share with anyone. But by the time the dancing lesson was over (surely the most devastating dancing lesson on record), Ellen had found a best friend and shared her secret. The best friend was ...

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Ellen Tebbits

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Overview

Ellen was eight years old and wore bands on her teeth. Her best friend had just moved away and she missed her. Still, as she walked to the Spofford School of the Dance one Saturday, she was almost glad she had no best friend. Best friends do not have secrets from each other, and Ellen had a secret she did not want to share with anyone. But by the time the dancing lesson was over (surely the most devastating dancing lesson on record), Ellen had found a best friend and shared her secret. The best friend was Austine, and the secret was that Ellen was wearing woolen underwear. So was Austine!

This whole book is a cause for rejoicing, for Mrs. Cleary has done it again. Ellen Tebbits is as funny as Henry Huggins. Perhaps it is even funnier. The children who read it will decide for themselves. Louis Darling, who has provided the wonderful illustrations, has already made his decision. He calls it a draw.

The part of third grade Ellen Tebbits likes most is having Austine Allen for her best friend.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Herald Tribune
Ellen and her troubles are both funny and touching; we meet her trying to hide her long underwear at dancing school, and playing a substitute rat in `The Pied Piper.' All is told with a downright realism, and the school scenes are choice.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Beverly Cleary's delightful peek into a young girl's life (Morrow, 1951) will capture a new audience in audiobook format. Listeners will giggle at third-grader Ellen's trials with both woolen underwear and her nemesis, Otis Spofford. They will sympathize with Ellen's desire to clap erasers, and her travails in acquiring a giant beet. Then there's the whole concept of being a "substitute rat." Through it all, Ellen's friendship with Austine, and their quarrel and eventual reconciliation provide the thread that ties all the events together. You can't listen to this production without laughing out loud. Andrea Martin reads Cleary's text with expression and good humor, creating unique voices for each character. She brings Ellen and her friends to life and makes them shine. Listeners will enjoy the small joys, horrors, and triumphs that make Ellen's life so like their own.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Saturday Review
“Through all Ellen’s joys and sorrows runs a thread of humor that makes the reader chuckle even when he is sympathizing with her.”
The Horn Book
“Ellen is a real girl and her adventures are full of zest and interest!”
New York Herald Tribune
“Ellen and her troubles are both funny and touching; we meet her trying to hide her long underwear at dancing school, and playing a substitute rat in The Pied Piper.’ All is told with a downright realism, and the school scenes are choice.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380709137
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/1990
  • Series: Avon Camelot Books Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 134,610
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.47 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary is one of America's most popular authors. Born in McMinnville, Oregon, she lived on a farm in Yamhill until she was six and then moved to Portland. After college, as the children's librarian in Yakima, Washington, she was challenged to find stories for non-readers. She wrote her first book, Henry Huggins, inresponse to a boy's question, "Where are the books about kids like us?"

Mrs. Cleary's books have earned her many prestigious awards, including the Amercan Library Association's Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, presented in recognition of her lasting contribution to children's literature.

Her Dear Mr. Henshaw was awarded the 1984 John Newbery Medal, and both Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and Ramona and Her Father have been named Newbery Honor Books. In addition, her books have won more than thirty-five statewide awards based on the votes of her young readers. Her characters, including Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbits, Otis Spofford, and Beezus and Ramona Quimby, as well as Ribsy, Socks, and Ralph S. Mouse, have delighted children for generations. Mrs. Cleary lives in coastal California.

Tracy Dockray is a fine artist and illustrator who has contributed to more than twenty illustrated books, including the bestselling Grimm's Grimmest, Delia at the Delano, and all of Beverly Cleary's highly popular children's books, most notably Ramona. A member of the Society of Illustrators, she holds an MFA from Pratt and lives in New York City.

Biography

Beverly Cleary was inadvertently doing market research for her books before she wrote them, as a young children’s librarian in Yakima, Washington. Cleary heard a lot about what kids were and weren’t responding to in literature, and she thought of her library patrons when she later sat down to write her first book.

Henry Huggins, published in 1950, was an effort to represent kids like the ones in Yakima and like the ones in her childhood neighborhood in Oregon. The bunch from Klickitat Street live in modest houses in a quiet neighborhood, but they’re busy: busy with rambunctious dogs (one Ribsy, to be precise), paper routes, robot building, school, bicycle acquisitions, and other projects. Cleary was particularly sensitive to the boys from her library days who complained that they could find nothing of interest to read – and Ralph and the Motorcycle was inspired by her son, who in fourth grade said he wanted to read about motorcycles. Fifteen years after her Henry books, Cleary would concoct the delightful story of a boy who teaches Ralph to ride his red toy motorcycle.

Cleary’s best known character, however, is a girl: Ramona Quimby, the sometimes difficult but always entertaining little sister whom Cleary follows from kindergarten to fourth grade in a series of books. Ramona is a Henry Huggins neighbor who, with her sister, got her first proper introduction in Beezus and Ramona, adding a dimension of sibling dynamics to the adventures on Klickitat Street. Cleary’s stories, so simple and so true, deftly portrayed the exasperation and exuberance of being a kid. Finally, an author seemed to understand perfectly about bossy/pesty siblings, unfair teachers, playmate politics, the joys of clubhouses and the perils of sub-mattress monsters.

Cleary is one of the rare children’s authors who has been able to engage both boys and girls on their own terms, mostly through either Henry Huggins or Ramona and Beezus. She has not limited herself to those characters, though. In 1983, she won the Newbery Medal with Dear Mr. Henshaw, the story of a boy coping with his parents’ divorce, as told through his journal entries and correspondence with his favorite author. She has also written a few books for older girls (Fifteen, The Luckiest Girl, Sister of the Bride, and Jean and Johnny) mostly focusing on first love and family relationships. A set of books for beginning readers stars four-year-old twins Jimmy and Janet.

Some of Cleary’s books – particularly her titles for young adults – may seem somewhat alien to kids whose daily lives don’t feature soda fountains, bottles of ink, or even learning cursive. Still, the author’s stories and characters stand the test of time; and she nails the basic concerns of childhood and adolescence. Her books (particularly the more modern Ramona series, which touches on the repercussions of a father’s job loss and a mother’s return to work) remain relevant classics.

Cleary has said in an essay that she wrote her two autobiographical books, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet, "because I wanted to tell young readers what life was like in safer, simpler, less-prosperous times, so different from today." She has conveyed that safer, simpler era -- still fraught with its own timeless concerns -- to children in her fiction as well, more than half a century after her first books were released.

Good To Know

Word processing is not Cleary's style. She writes, "I write in longhand on yellow legal pads. Some pages turn out right the first time (hooray!), some pages I revise once or twice and some I revise half-a-dozen times. I then attack my enemy the typewriter and produce a badly typed manuscript which I take to a typist whose fingers somehow hit the right keys. No, I do not use a computer. Everybody asks."

Cleary usually starts her books on January 2.

Up until she was six, Cleary lived in Yamhill, Oregon -- a town so small it had no library. Cleary's mother took up the job of librarian, asking for books to be sent from the state branch and lending them out from a lodge room over a bank. It was, Clearly remembers, "a dingy room filled with shabby leather-covered chairs and smelling of stale cigar smoke. The books were shelved in a donated china cabinet. It was there I made the most magical discovery: There were books written especially for children!"

Cleary authored a series of tie-in books in the early 1960s for classic TV show Leave It to Beaver.

Cleary's books appear in over 20 countries in 14 languages.

Cleary's book The Luckiest Girl is based in part on her own young adulthood, when a cousin of her mother's offered to take Beverly for the summer and have her attend Chaffey Junior College in Ontario, California. Cleary went from there to the University of California at Berkeley.

The actress Sarah Polley got her start playing Ramona in the late ‘80s TV series. Says Cleary in a Q & A on her web site: “I won’t let go of the rights for television productions unless I have script approval. There have been companies that have wanted the movie rights to Ramona, but they won’t let me have script approval, and so I say no. I did have script approval for the television productions of the Ramona series…. I thought Sarah Polley was a good little actress, a real little professional.”

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    1. Also Known As:
      Beverly Atlee Bunn (birth name)
    2. Hometown:
      Carmel, California
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 12, 1916
    2. Place of Birth:
      McMinnville, Oregon
    1. Education:
      B.A., University of California-Berkeley, 1938; B.A. in librarianship, University of Washington (Seattle), 1939

Read an Excerpt

Ellen Tebbits MOB

Chapter One

Ellen's Secret

Ellen Tebbitswas in a hurry. As she ran down Tillamook Street with her ballet slippers tucked under her arm, she did not even stop to scuff through the autumn leaves on the sidewalk. The reason Ellen was in a hurry was a secret she would never, never tell.

Ellen was a thin little girl, with dark hair and brown eyes. She wore bands on her teeth, and her hair was scraggly on the left side of her face, because she spent so much time reading and twisting a lock of hair around her finger as she read. She had no brothers or sisters and, since Nancy Jane had moved away from next door, there was no one her own age living on Tillamook Street.

So she had no really best friend. She did not even have a dog or cat to play with, because her mother said animals tracked in mud and left hair on the furniture.

Of course Ellen had lots of friends at school, but that was not the same as having a best friend who lived in the same neighborhood and could come over to play after school and on Saturdays. Today, however, Ellen was almost glad she did not have a best friend, because best friends do not have secrets from one another. She was sure she would rather be lonely the rest of her life than share the secret of why she had to get to her dancing class before any of the other girls.

The Spofford School of the Dance was upstairs over the Payless Drugstore. When Ellen came to the entrance at the side of the building, she paused to look anxiously up and down the street. Then, relieved that she saw no one she knew, she scampered up the long flight of steps as fast as she could run. Therewas not a minute to waste.

She pushed open the door and looked quickly around the big, bare room. Maybe her plan was really going to work after all. She was the first pupil to arrive.

Ellen's teacher, Valerie Todd Spofford, was looking at some music with Mrs. Adams, the accompanist, at the piano in the comer of the room.

She was really Mrs. John Spofford and had a son named Otis, who was in Ellen's room at school. Because she taught dancing, people did not call her Mrs. John Spofford. They called her by her full name, Valerie Todd Spofford.

"Good afternoon, Ellen," she said. "You're early."

"Good afternoon, Mrs. Spofford," answered Ellen, and hurried past the long mirrors that covered one wall.

When Ellen opened the dressing-room door, she made a terrible discovery. Someone was in the dressing room ahead of her.

Austine Allen was sitting on a bench lacing her ballet slippers. Austine was a new girl, both in the dancing class and in Ellen's room at school. Ellen knew she had just come 'from California, because she mentioned it so often. She thought the new girl looked good-natured and untidy, but she really had not paid much attention to her.

"Oh," said Ellen. "Hello. I didn't know anyone was here."

I guess I'm early," said Austine and then added, "but so are you."

The girls looked at each other. Ellen noticed that Austine had already changed into the required costume of the Spofford School of the Dance. This was a short full skirt of tulle gathered onto a sateen top that had straps over the shoulders. Austine looked chubby in her green costume.

Neither girl spoke. Oh, why doesn't she leave, thought Ellen desperately. Maybe if I wait long enough she'll go into the other room. Ellen removed her jacket as slowly as she could. No, I canwait. The others will be here any minute.

This is a silly costume we have to wear , said Austine. "When I took ballet lessons in California we always wore shorts and T shirts."

"Well, I think it's pretty" said Ellen, as she took her pink costume from the rack along the wall. Why don't you go away, she thought. She said, "It's almost like real ballerinas wear. When I'm wearing it, I pretend I'm a real dancer."

Austine stood up. "Not even real ballerinas practice in full skirts like these. They wear leotards. In California..."

"Well, I think leotards are ugly," interrupted Ellen, who was glad she knew that leotards were long tight-fitting garments. "They look just like long underwear and I wouldn't wear one for anything. I like our dresses better."

"I don't," said Austine flatly. I don't even like dancing lessons. At least in California.

"I don't care what anybody does in California," said Ellen crossly. "I'm tired of hearing you talk about California and so is everyone at school. So there! If you think California is so wonderful, why don't you go back there?"

For a second Austine looked hurt. Ellen almost thought she was going to cry. Instead she made a face. "All right for you!"' she said, and flounced out of the dressing room, leaving her clothes in an untidy heap on the bench.

Instantly Ellen was sorry. What a terrible thing to say to a new girl! What if she herself were a new girl and someone had said that to her? How would she have felt? She hadn't really meant to be rude,, but somehow it had slipped out. She was so anxious to have Austine leave that she had not thought about what she was saying.

But now that Austine was gone and Ellen was alone, there was not a moment to waste, not even in feeling sorry for what she had done. Feverishly she unbuttoned her sweater. She was starting to unfasten her dress when she heard some of the girls coming through the classroom.

Frantically Ellen looked around the dressing room for a place to hide. She darted behind the costume rack. No, that wouldn't do. The girls might see her when they took down their costumes...

Ellen Tebbits MOB
. Copyright © by Beverly Cleary. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 30 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 30 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    captures the fancy of young readers

    Ellen Tebbits is a third grade school girl who finally finds a best friend in Austine Allen, the new student in her class who has moved from California, primarily because the two share a terrible secret. In fact, the two become such close companions that they decide to dress as twins on the first day of fourth grade. Unfortunately, Mrs. Allen is not nearly as good a seamstress as Mrs. Tebbits, and Austine's dress looks terrible. The two argue about it, and thinking that Austine has untied her sash, Ellen slaps Austine in the face. Ellen wants desperately to be Austine's friend again and later finds out that it was actually Otis Spofford who untied her sash, but she is too proud to apologize to Austine. Will the two ever be able to make up? I have read many of Beverly Cleary's books for children, and I will try to be honest. I really liked the three books about Ralph Mouse. The books about Henry Huggins are fairly good. The books about Ramona Quimby, two of which were Newbery Honor books, are, in my estimation, not as good, but they are still all right and probably appeal more to girls than boys. I did not care for the only book for which Clearly won the Newbery Award, Dear Mr. Henshaw. Personally, I thought that it was depressing, but a lot of people have found it useful. However, I did enjoy reading Ellen Tebbits. It presents a realistic picture of elementary school life and deals sensitively with some issues that children of that age face, yet is written in an interesting style that will capture the fancy of young readers.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    I love this book and you will too!!!

    When I read this book, I was way above the age level. But I still enjoyed the novel. The book is about Ellen Tebbits, a well-mannered perfectionist starting third grade. While attending ballet class, she discovers an embarrassing secret about another student, Austine. Ellen also has the same secret, and the two become the best of friends. Then, Ellen makes a terrible mistake she must fix. For stingy children, they can relate to Ellen¿s remorse and unwillingness to formally apologize to Austine. The book was relatable to me, even at age ten. The incidents Ellen goes through- accidentally getting in trouble, ducking bullying from a boy in her class, and struggling to find a secure best friend that will share her interests- even applies to a middle-schoolers. This was a wonderful read, and even though I¿m too old for it, I¿m never too old to laugh at its antics. If you are looking for a hilarious, relatable, easy novel written by a familiar author like Beverly Cleary, buy this book now!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    Totaly

    He

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014

    My opion on the book

    I love the book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Fun

    I found this book intersting but kind of boring. I mean WOOL underwear ....... really

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2013

    Read them all

    I remember reading these Beverly Cleary books in school getting them off the Bookmobile or at the little store that had books to lend. Another time long ago now I entertain my grands with her always good books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2013

    To 7

    It is not judy blume it is beaverly cleary

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    Great book real review-@$h

    Hi my name is ash im 11 and this is my 2nd real review and this book was real great because it is an awesome children's book but if you have a questiin about a book and you write it on the reviews and give it low stars, its just hurting the book. Please if youre going to chat put 5 or whatever you think the book was. Just dont put 1 or 2 stars its just hurting the book. Anyway if you liked this book you should check out Andrew Clements, Theodoore Boone and the Hunger Games if your 11 or older. For my next review meet me at the book the Hunger Games. Thanks for reading! Luv u all

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    how many pages is this book?

    Pages how many

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Great book!

    This was the best book I ever read and I've read a lot of books! Beverly Cleary is the best auther EVER!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2012

    BEST BOOK !!!!!!!!!!!

    This is a great book!! So read it!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    I want this so bad!!!

    I really want this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! was wrong

    Beverly Cleary wrote this awesome book not Judy Blume!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2012

    READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The best judy blume book i have ever read!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    Great book

    This book is great it really is!!!! I just starting reading it and its great so far. Well im over the age level but who cares it is still the best book i read on my nook!! Wow i would really request this book for grades 3-4 its great

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    Amazing!!!!!!

    One word. AMAZING!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    Love this book

    The best book ever did not tell us about tjis book it rocks

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Fellings

    She cared and a great novel

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2011

    this book rules

    wow its the best book on earth

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2005

    HILARIOUS!!! READ IT!!!

    I absolutly adored this novel. With a 5 star average, you should read it too. I have read it 4 times and I never get tired of it. This story is funny from begining to end and made me cry of laughter. You can relate to Elen so well and deffinatley name a few 'Otises' from school or your neighborhood. Can't go wrong with Cleary, one of my all time favorite comidy authors. Enjoy!

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