Russell and Elisa

Russell and Elisa

5.0 1
by Johanna Hurwitz, Debbie Tilley

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Russell and Elisa are growing up. Now that Elisa is bigger, she and Russell have more fun together. The only problem is Elisa's doll, Airmail. Elisa takes Airmail everywhere, and Russell thinks that's silly. But one day Elisa leaves Airmail in the library by mistake. And it's Russell who thinks of just the right thing to make his little sister feel

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Russell and Elisa are growing up. Now that Elisa is bigger, she and Russell have more fun together. The only problem is Elisa's doll, Airmail. Elisa takes Airmail everywhere, and Russell thinks that's silly. But one day Elisa leaves Airmail in the library by mistake. And it's Russell who thinks of just the right thing to make his little sister feel better.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Russell's little sister Elisa is growing up fast. She is almost four, and although most of the time Russell thinks she is a pest, sometimes he enjoys her company. This book, the latest in Hurwitz's popular series about Russell and his family and friends, captures succinctly the ebb and flow of sibling relations. The alternating embarrassment and affection Russell feels for his sister is right on target. And Hurwitz zeros in on the kind of ordinary activities important to a child: a trip to the barbershop, the excitement of a first sleep-over and an afternoon at the ballgame. The tale also boasts a doll with what may be the most endearing name--Airmail--since Ramona Quimby's beloved Chevrolet. Hurwitz is a master of middle-grade fiction: as always, her prose is snappy and believable, and her gentle stories of family life have the ring of authenticity. Pictures not seen by PW. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature
Russell and his kid sister Elisa are starting to have more fun together. He is in the second grade and she is almost four. The realistic banter between them demonstrates both rough and tender moments in sibling relationships. Early readers will enjoy Russell and Elisa, as well as the book's supporting cast of characters. Children will relate to the personalities and situations presented in the book. The interesting dialogue and amusing plot are sure to keep children entertained. This title is one in the author and publisher's "Riverside Kids" series. 2001 (orig. 1989), HarperTrophy/HarperCollins, $4.25. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer:Jeanne K. Pettenati
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-- Russell is back, this time sharing the spotlight with his sister Elisa, who is now four years old--old enough to have some interesting things to say for herself. Threads of plot connect the six stories, but they can stand well alone for those who like to skip around. Elisa writes her grandmother a letter and receives in return a homemade rag doll aptly named Airmail. Airmail quickly becomes the focus of Russell's complaints about the embarrassment Elisa causes him. Russell is still a handful himself, as when he decides to play barber with friend Annie's hair. The predictable happens, of course. Later Airmail is featured as a lost object after a visit to the library. This vignette of the lost doll is hilarious in its sly portrayal of Russell's deviousness, and the price he must pay for it. Hurwitz never over-explains or interprets for readers. Her characters act and react, and she keeps her comments on their behavior light and subtle. She is at the height of her consistently top form with this winner. --Ruth Semrau, Lovejoy School, McKinney, TX

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Riverside Kids Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The Package

Even though Elisa Michaels was not as big as her big brother, Russell, she was not as little as she used to be. It's true she didn't go to school like Russell, who was in second grade. And it's true she couldn't tell time or tie her own shoelaces. But she dressed herself these days-if somebody helped with the buttons. After all, on her next birthday Elisa was going to be four, and four was much, much older than three.

In fact, Elisa was so big that, three mornings a week, she went to a play group. Six children met together in Mrs. Newman's apartment. They baked cookies and drew pictures and played games. It was fun going to the play, group. It was almost like going to school. Russell said play group was not like school at all. Elisa knew he was wrong. She was right.

On days when Elisa didn't have play group, she helped her mother with her errands. When they went to the supermarket, she helped her decide what to cook for dinner.

"String beans or green peas?" asked Mrs. Michaels as they stood in the produce department.

"Peas," said Elisa.

"Hamburgers or lamb stew?" asked Mrs. Michaels when they reached the meat counter.

"Hamburgers," said Elisa. She knew all the answers.

What Elisa liked most was helping her mother at the post office. Elisa loved the post office, where her mother went to buy stamps and from time to time send off packages. At home, Elisa watched when her mother wrote letters to her grandmother, who lived in California. Then her mother would put the letter into an envelope. Sometimes she would include a special drawing that Elisa made in the envelope, too.Next Mrs. Michaels wrote the address on the envelope. Then she gave Elisa a postage stamp, and Elisa lick ed it with her tongue and pasted it in the corner. Without a stamp on it, the mail carrier would not deliver the letter. So pasting on the stamp was very special and important.

"I went to the post office today," Elisa told Russell when he came home from school.

"So what," said Russell. He was already seven going on eight. His mother insisted that once upon a time he, too, had liked going to the post office. But Russell didn't believe her. She probably just said- it to make Elisa feel better.

"I pasted the stamps on five letters," said Elisa.

"Big deal," he answered.

"One of the stamps was an airmail stamp, and the letter is going to fly on an airplane all the way to France."

"You don't even know where France is," said Russell. He said that even though he didn't know, either.

"It's far, far away," said Elisa. "That's why the letter is going on an airplane."

"So what."

It was hard to impress a brother who was so old, Elisa thought to' herself sadly.

"I wish I would get a letter," Elisa told her mother every day when the mail. was delivered to their apartment building.

"You will when you are older and write letters to other people," Mrs. Michaels promised.

Elisa stood watching as the mailman put the letters in the boxes of all the people who lived in their apartment building. Even though she couldn't read at all, she had learned which were the boxes of her friends. "Nora and Teddy are getting a lot of mail today," she remarked to her mother.

"Everyone is getting a lot of mail today," said Mrs. Michaels. "It's the start of a new month and we're all getting bills."

Elisa didn't know about bills. But she kept watching and hoping. One of these days there would be a letter for her.

"If you write a letter to Grandma, I'm sure she will write back to you," suggested Mrs. Michaels one rainy afternoon.

"Could I put it in an envelope all by itself?" asked Elisa. "An envelope that doesn't have a letter from you?"

"Sure," said her mother.

Elisa took a clean sheet of paper and made scribble- scrabble lines all over it. "Here," she said.

Mrs. Michaels shook her head. "Let me spell the words for you," she suggested. "Grandma will have trouble reading this." So, with her mother's help, Elisa carefully wrote out all the letters to make up a big letter. It read:

Dear Grandma
Send Me a letter
Love Elisa

It was very hard work writing so many ABC letters to make up a letter that you could mail. Elisa was quite tired by the time the letter was finished.

"Oh, dear, you forgot to write please," said Mrs. Michaels.

"So what," said Elisa, sounding a bit like Russell. She knew she couldn't write one more word to her grandmother.

Russell and Elisa. Copyright � by Johanna Hurwitz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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