Have Pen, Will Travel (Ellie McDoodle Diaries Series)

Overview

One girl. One sketchbook. One week with the world's most annoying relatives.

When Ellie McDougal's parents go out of town, she's forced to go on a camping trip with her aunt, uncle, cousins, and baby brother, Ben-Ben. Ellie can handle mosquitos and poison ivy, but sharing a cabin with her crazy relatives? No way! From her aunt's many rules to her cousin Eric's constant teasing, Ellie needs her sketchbook to survive this family vacation!

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Have Pen, Will Travel (Ellie McDoodle Diaries Series)

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Overview

One girl. One sketchbook. One week with the world's most annoying relatives.

When Ellie McDougal's parents go out of town, she's forced to go on a camping trip with her aunt, uncle, cousins, and baby brother, Ben-Ben. Ellie can handle mosquitos and poison ivy, but sharing a cabin with her crazy relatives? No way! From her aunt's many rules to her cousin Eric's constant teasing, Ellie needs her sketchbook to survive this family vacation!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Barshaw's debut children's book, a paper-over-board volume, replicates the sketchbook of 11-year-old Ellie McDougal. Her surname nickname reflects her love of doodling, which she does a great deal of in these, unfortunately somewhat repetitious, pages. While Ellie's parents are away, she and her baby brother join their aunt, uncle and cousins on a camping trip. In line drawings accompanied by often acerbic commentary, the aspiring artist chronicles the ups and downs of this week-long expedition, which initially entails far more downs than ups. For starters, Ellie points out that her aunt is in a "perpetual bad mood" and all of her three cousins "are pains," especially Eric, whom she refers to as "Er-ick" and describes as "a nose-picking, booger-slurping, bug-infested parasite." Ellie's depiction of him (through most of the book) as a six-armed monster grows tedious, as does the incessant bickering between the two cousins. More diverting are the young journalist's descriptions of such family activities as catching frogs, visiting an animal museum, taking a nature walk, star gazing and tossing water balloons. She also offers instructions for playing a handful of games. Predictably, as the vacation ends Ellie admits that she has had more fun than she'd expected and, on a list of things she learned during the week, includes a nugget of wisdom: "No girl is an island. We're all in this together. Might as well try to get along." Ages 8-12. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Just right for the chapter-book crowd is Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel. A girl who likes to doodle, Ellie interlaces her journal with her own pictures. In chronicling her camping trip with extended family, Ellie includes pictures about and comments on everything from frogs to her younger cousin Tiffie, whom Ellie likens to a "prissy little frou-frou show dog all fluffed up and barky." Ellie's observations and sketches are laugh-out-loud funny—and far from flattering. When her icky cousin Eric gets hold of her journal, Ellie knows she's in big trouble. And she also feels guilty about her mean portraits. Ellie manages to make it up to Eric (a candy bar helps) and salvage the camping trip while learning that "you can't always judge … a vacation by its first day," "Eric isn't so bad" and "elk are not meat eaters." Irrepressible Ellie is sure to inspire young readers to embark on their own writing/drawing adventures. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6
Eleven-year-old budding artist Eleanor McDougal shares the sketch diary she keeps throughout her camping trip to northern Michigan. She's making the trip with relatives she does not know very well. Her descriptions of Aunt Ug, Uncle Ewing, and her three cousins are scathing, while she portrays herself as an accomplished artist, naturalist, and born leader. Readers see other facets of Ellie's character as she teases and berates her cousins and ignores her three-year-old brother. When her behavior gets out of control, the adults step in with discipline that forces Ellie to get to know her cousins. Initially the kids forge friendships by playing pranks on the others, but ultimately they enjoy many adventures. Ellie shares instructions and diagrams for games such as "Spoons," "Fing Fang Fooey," and "Sardines" that are easy to follow and will inspire readers to gather friends and play. The engaging text reflects a contemporary preadolescent sensibility and is chock-full of clean, distinguished line drawings on each spread. As Ellie shares her frustrations, conflicts, fun and wildlife facts, readers observe the valuable lessons that she learns about getting along with others-even if they seem to be obnoxious relatives. Ellie hints at further summer surprises, and readers will look forward to her next adventure.
—Laura ScottCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Forced to go camping in northern Michigan with her three cousins and younger brother, 11-year-old Ellie keeps a copiously illustrated record of the experience, documenting her dislike for the family and the situation, as well as her growing enjoyment by the end of the week. Part journal, part graphic novel and all fun (with echoes of Harriet the Spy), this is a clever account of a growing-up experience that will be familiar to middle-grade readers. When Ellie's journal is discovered and read by her cousin "Er-ICK" and her Aunt "Ug" (Eric and Mug), she learns something about her aunt and discovers common ground with her cousin. When the four older children get lost in the woods at night, they find ways to work together to rescue themselves. Hand-lettered text supplements black-and-white cartoon-like drawings. Full of maps, wilderness-survival tips and instructions for counting out rhymes and group games, as well as for making an automatic spitball machine, this will be an agreeable summer read. (Graphic fiction. 8-11)
From the Publisher
From Kirkus Reviews

Part journal, part graphic novel, all fun (with echoes of Harriet the Spy), this is a clever account of a growing-up experience that familiar to middle-grade readers. —Kirkus Reviews

From School Library Journal

The engaging text reflects a contemporary preadolescent sensibility and is chock-full of clean, distinguished line drawings on each spread. As Ellie shares her frustrations, conflicts, fun and wildlife facts, readers observe the valuable lessons that she learns about getting along with others-even if they seem to be obnoxious relatives. Ellie hints at further summer surprises, and readers will look forward to her next adventure. —School Library Journal

From CurledUp.com

Ellie's journal encompasses a little frog mystery, a little Seaweed Sally intrigue, and lots of wilderness adventure and drama. Ruth McNally Barshaw's first book for children speaks volumes with its words and its pictures. This record of a diarist is fun to read and recommended. —CurledUp.com

From Grand Rapids Press

Lots of voice, humor, and pre-teen attitude shine through the pages in Ellie's journal, not just through words and story, but through her art. The simple line drawings on every page add personality, and the hand-drawn text makes it feel authentic. After experiencing Ellie's way of expressing herself, kids may be inclined to create there own illustrated journals. —Grand Rapids Press

From KidsRead.com

There is nothing to dislike in this charming tale, which is heavily illustrated with whimsical cartoonish drawings. It realistically portrays the characters (even the adults!), giving readers much to consider about the pros and cons of relationships, along with hilarious situations and witty asides —KidsRead.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781619631731
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/2013
  • Series: Ellie McDoodle Diaries Series
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 691,471
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth McNally Barshaw, lifelong writer and artist, has worked in the advertising field, illustrated for newspapers, and won numerous essay-writing contests. She lives in Lansing, Michigan with her family. Visit her at www.ruthexpress.com

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    A reviewer

    It's camping time for Ellie McDougal but she's not happy about it. Ellie's parents have to go out of town, so she and her baby brother, Ben-Ben, will be going with their Aunt Ug, Uncle Ewing, and cousins Erick, Deanna, and Tiffie. All of the camping supplies are packed and ready to go, including Ellie's sketchbook. Will the trip be as bad as Ellie is afraid it will be? Through the pages of Ellie's sketchbook, she tells the story of her camping trip. She meets a 13-year-old boy by the name of Scott. He is one interesting character, as he speaks French, Japanese, and English. He wants to learn to draw, which is something that Ellie can help him with. He has to leave but never tells Ellie that he is leaving Campsite 137. She is saddened by her friend leaving. Her opinions of her relatives change throughout the book. In the beginning, she thinks of Erick as being a dinosaur but that changes as it goes along. Erick also collects frogs and thinks he has found the best frog, but holds him too tight -- Oh, no! The illustrations are very cute and add meaning to the story. The characters you meet in this book are very unusual. The storyline keeps young readers interested. This is a must read for children ages 9-12 who would love to be entertained with a good story and a very easy read. With fewer words and many pictures on each page than most books for this age group, this is a delight. Pack up your bags and get ready for a camping adventure with Ellie along -- it's bound to be a great time! I hope that there are more exciting adventures of ELLIE MCDOODLE books in the future. **Reviewed by: Bri P.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    Book

    Hilarious and always entertaining. A must read for kids. Not expensive...you will wanna read it again and again!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 15, 2011

    Wonderful kid-friendly read!

    This is a terrific book. The text alone would make a wonderful kid-friendly story, but the cartoon illustrations make it! It's amazing how simple the drawings are, yet they capture so much! I also love how honest Ellie is--a truly authentic kid's voice. And, on top of all that, it's pretty funny!

    Highly recommended! Kids will love it!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 28, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Bri P. for TeensReadToo.com

    It's camping time for Ellie McDougal but she's not happy about it. Ellie's parents have to go out of town, so she and her baby brother, Ben-Ben, will be going with their Aunt Ug, Uncle Ewing, and cousins Erick, Deanna, and Tiffie. All of the camping supplies are packed and ready to go, including Ellie's sketchbook. Will the trip be as bad as Ellie is afraid it will be? <BR/><BR/>Through the pages of Ellie's sketchbook, she tells the story of her camping trip. She meets a 13-year-old boy by the name of Scott. He is one interesting character, as he speaks French, Japanese, and English. He wants to learn to draw, which is something that Ellie can help him with. He has to leave but never tells Ellie that he is leaving Campsite 137. She is saddened by her friend leaving. Her opinions of her relatives change throughout the book. In the beginning, she thinks of Erick as being a dinosaur but that changes as it goes along. Erick also collects frogs and thinks he has found the best frog, but holds him too tight -- Oh, no! <BR/><BR/>The illustrations are very cute and add meaning to the story. The characters you meet in this book are very unusual. The storyline keeps young readers interested. This is a must read for children ages 9-12 who would love to be entertained with a good story and a very easy read. With fewer words and many pictures on each page than most books for this age group, this is a delight. Pack up your bags and get ready for a camping adventure with Ellie along -- it's bound to be a great time! I hope that there are more exciting adventures of ELLIE MCDOODLE books in the future.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Ellie Mcdoodle T

    Havent Read Yet but Looks AAAAAAAAAWwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssssoooooooooommmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
    Peace OUt Dawg !

    3 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2014

    Good book!

    The book is cute and I really enjoyed reading it! Not the best book I ever read, but still really good!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    Nice but dork diaries is better

    Nice diary but dork diaries is better cause it actually HAS more than one book about it

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Ellie mcdoodle

    SO gooooooooooooooooooood +i hav red all the books

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Love this book. Kids 5 and up would <3 it! I read the sieries. The sieries is pretty good. Tommarow is my birthday, so that means I get to have the book that comes after this one! You would love th sieries.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    Great Book

    We loved it!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    One of the best books ever!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2012

    Ellie fan

    This is one of my fav books

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2015

    malunction still

    I read the sample but i had the same problem, I trie shaking my nook but that didnt work can anyone help me? If you have another solutin write for your headline "solution" thnks!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2015

    Malfunctioned

    Just shake your nook reley hard

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2014

    Malfunctioned with my nook

    I only got the sample and this book looked pretty good to me. But the illustrations kept covering the text, so i couldnt read some parts of it. If any one has a solution to my problem, please writ the heading as" to malfunctioned"

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    Awesome

    I love these books i only have the first one its a really good series to read for ages 8-12 or 9-12 i really recomend this book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    I love ellie

    This is waaaaaaaaaaay better than dork diaries + i luv the part in this book where they get lost in the woods. Reply 2 broncos #1 fan. LETS GO BRONCOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 22, 2013

    Why Kids Will Love It: The voice! Ellie shares all her thoughts

    Why Kids Will Love It: The voice! Ellie shares all her thoughts in her drawings and the text of the book making the reader feel like they ARE Ellie. Her adventures with her cousins are funny and very real.  Any child could picture themselves as Ellie, especially girls who will love her.
    This book is also good for reluctant readers, as the drawings on each page make them seem less daunting to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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