Stand Straight, Ella Kate

Stand Straight, Ella Kate

by Kate Klise
     
 

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Ella Kate Ewing was born in 1872. She started out small, but she just kept on growing. Soon she was too tall for her desk at school, too tall for her bed at home, too tall to fit anywhere. Ella Kate was a real-life giant, but she refused to hide herself away. Instead, she used her unusual height to achieve her equally large dreams.

The masterful Klise sisters

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Overview

Ella Kate Ewing was born in 1872. She started out small, but she just kept on growing. Soon she was too tall for her desk at school, too tall for her bed at home, too tall to fit anywhere. Ella Kate was a real-life giant, but she refused to hide herself away. Instead, she used her unusual height to achieve her equally large dreams.

The masterful Klise sisters deliver a touching and inspiring true story about a strong-minded girl who finally embraced her differences. It's the perfect book for every child who has ever felt like an outsider.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Klise sisters (the Little Rabbit books) tell the story of Ella Kate Ewing, who turned what could have been a miserable existence into a life of dignity. Gigantism, not understood in the 19th century, made Ella a child who needed a specially made desk and wore size 12 shoes. The advice her parents gave her forms the title of the book, but Ella, 8’4” by age 22, suffered, and Kate Klise portrays her plight with sensitivity: “I was too big for the world.” As a museum exhibit in Chicago, the discomfort of public display is offset by the phenomenal pay; at 18, she makes more in five months than her father’s farm makes in five years. Wealth brings independence, a house, and a thirst for new experiences: “[T]he more I saw of the world, the more I wanted to see. Because as big as I was, the world was so much bigger. And I intended to see it all.” M. Sarah Klise’s acrylic paintings give a sense of the historical setting without drawing attention to themselves; modest colors and conventional forms echo Ella’s humility. A quiet story with unexpected impact. Ages 6–8. (May)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
When Ella Kate Ewing was growing up to be 8 feet 4 inches tall in the late 1800s, little was known about her glandular disorder. At first she is distressed at growing so tall, and is called a freak. But the she gets an offer to be paid to be exhibited at a museum in Chicago, and then to travel around the country. She is glad, as she tells us in vernacular style, to earn enough money to return home, pay her father's debt, and build herself a house large enough in which to be comfortable. But she misses the excitement of her days on the road, and returns to tour as a circus show star. Sometimes people still mock her. But she remembers what her mother and father always told her. She "stands straight," and feels better. Some of her special possessions are drawn on the end pages, including her size 24 shoes and gloves and her 9'6" long bed. Acrylics are used to visualize her history from childhood to large size, particularly in humorous situations where her height is an attraction. A note adds further factual information. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—When she starts to grow at an alarming rate at the age of seven, no one can predict what life may have in store for Ella Kate, a country girl who becomes a "real, live giant." Self-conscious about her abnormal height, Ella hunches down to look smaller, tries unsuccessfully to place her long legs under her desk, and suffers the teasing of thoughtless classmates, feeling "too big for the world." By the time she reaches 8 feet, in 1889, 17-year-old Ella is invited to work as an attraction in a Chicago museum, and, despite her father's protective instincts, takes the offer. Thus begins a life of fame, fortune, and worldwide adventure for the girl once labeled a "freak." Told in first person, this is a delightful tale about an extraordinary young woman who embraced her difference. The story is well told in straightforward prose with lots of dialogue, and Ella's strength of character shines through. The stylized acrylic illustrations add much to the text, using bright colors and emphasizing Ella's height from various perspectives. A sepia-toned photo of the real Ella and an author's note are included. This is an excellent choice for youngsters who have ever had to deal with being different. It would also work well paired with a version of "Molly Whuppie," offering a point of comparison between the fantasy giant and the real-life Ella. Sure to be a hit.—Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, formerly at LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI
Kirkus Reviews
Ella Kate Ewing had gigantism, a glandular disorder that gave her an adult height of 8 feet 4 inches and size 24 feet. Her story is told in the first person, recounting how troubled she was by teasing in her youth, but how she turned her condition into a job-appearing in circuses and museums and at fairs-and a means to achieve independence and to help her family. She grew up in Missouri in a log cabin her father built, and the title comes from her mother's admonition as she tried to keep Ella Kate clothed properly. M. Sarah Klise's acrylic-on-Bristol board paintings are friendly and colorful, rendering the late-19th-century images with softly exaggerated gestures. The author's note is informative, but it does not include references-a lamentable omission, as it makes further investigation of this fascinating subject difficult. Children will likely be captivated by both the story and Ella Kate's quiet and direct voice. (Picture book/biography. 5- 9)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780803734043
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
05/13/2010
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.40(w) x 11.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
AD640L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise are sisters and co-creators of many award-winning books for children. Kate lives in Norwood, Missouri, and Sarah lives in Berkeley, California.

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