“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

“Ella” sets the stage

Written by:  Carmela D’Amico

Illustrated by:  Steven D’Amico

Published by:  Arthur a. Levin Books – Imprint of Scholastic Inc.

Age:  4 and up

Theme:  talent, shyness, inner talent

Opening Lines:  One day toward the end of class, Miss Bell made an announcement.  “In two weeks, our school will be hosting its first talent show.”

Synopsis:  Ella, the adorable little elephant hears there’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.  She loves helping out set up the stage, paint the sets, making medals.  On the night of the show, she still doesn’t know what she’s going to do, but she’s soon helping, sewing a hole in a dancer’s tights and helping a performer’s monkey jump from the rafters.  Her true gift–being a good friend–shines forth.

Why I like it:  I can sympathise with Ella.  I love organising, and performing behind the stage tasks, costume design, hair and makeup, but I am not a stage person.  Like Ella we often feel that we have no talent, and this adorable book set on Elephant Island, has a timeless message. Hidden talent is often what wins on the night.  Children feeling inapt or left out will love this story.  It’s true that often we are unaware of talents we do have.   The old fashion look to the whimsical illustrations gives it a charming appeal.   This book won the 2006 National Parenting Publications Gold Award.

This is one of a series of four books of Ella on Elephant Island written by Carmela and illustrated by her husband Steven.  She lives with her husband and daughter in Seattle.

Resources/findings:   I love this website of Ella that I found, with jigsaw puzzles and colouring pages…  http://www.ellatheelephant.com/

A website of bring out the talent in the young, of music, art, creative writing….  http://imagineproject.org/index.php?section=ourprograms&subsection=description

Hidden Talent Musical Camp….   http://www.hiddentalents.ca/

Website of workshops and programs for gifted kids….   http://www.centerforgifted.org/

For more books with resources please head on over and visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors.

About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
This entry was posted in Children's literature, Picture Book Review and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to “Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

  1. Without the Ella’s in the world, things wouldn’t get done. I love this story. It shows how Ella does shine in a very different way. I’m a behind the scenes person too. The one who held the knowledge and prepared the generals before events, speeches, tours and media events etc. Great choice!

  2. Catherine Johnson says:


  3. Joanna says:

    Oo, there are quite a number of kids and adults who sill relate so well to Ella. I love stories that help children recognize their own unique gifts. Super choice, Diane!

  4. This sounds like a book I would love! I like books about finding what you are good at and knowing you don’t have to be good at everything!

  5. Richa Jha says:

    What a timeless story! There are so many of us in the world who’ve felt like Ella at more than one point in our lives. This book sounds like it will be a reassuring treat to many an unsure child. Great pick!

  6. I was a shy and timid child…and loved working in the background! This is a perfect picture book to help others who have similar challenges. 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing this book, Diane…and giving us the great resources/activities!

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