Hi there... This is the first page of the Letter "E" in an alphabetical list of the children's books reviewed on ReadThatAgain.com... All these books are also listed by Author in another section of the site.

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Kids Books -- "E" By Title
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"Eating The Alphabet"
Written by Lois Ehlert
Illustrated by Lois Ehlert
(Bloomsbury, 2004)

Although I admire her bold, brightly colored collage art, not many of Ehlert's books appeal to me... Not sure why. This one, however, is a gem. When I saw a super-grubby copy of it in the local library, I knew right away I'd want to own it, and sure enough, when I was able to track a new copy down, it was an instant hit with my girl, who goes to the farmer's market every week and is really into fresh produce. Apples, blueberries, cucumbers and corn... Dozens of fruits and veggies are shown, each more enticing than the next. For parents who want to encourage healthy diets full of fresh, whole foods, this book will be indispensable. It was a big success at our house. (A)


"The Elephant Tree"
Written by Penny Dale
Illustrated by Penny Dale
(G. P. Putman & Sons, 1991)

I like the artwork, but the story is kinda paper-thin and nonsensical. Two small children, at home with their (stuffed?) elephant go off on a wintery walk to find a tree for the pachyderm to climb. They take a fantasy journey to oak woods, tropics and redwood groves, where they meet birds, monkeys and bears who all claim the trees as their own. Finally they come back home where they build an "elephant tree" out of twigs and snow. Pretty-looking sequential art, but the text didn't really resonate with us. (C)


"Ella The Elegant Elephant"
Written by Carmela & Steven D'Amico
Illustrated by Carmela & Steven D'Amico
(Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2004)

I really love the Ella series... The books are nice and sweet, and presents a marvelously imagined, self-contained world that will strongly appeal to little kids. It has a similar feel to the Curious George and Babar books, except without all the weird, disturbing undertones that make those classics a bit troublesome. A great choice for some fun books that you don't have to worry about. Here, we meet little Ella as she sets off on her first day at a new school, happy as a clam, wearing her big, floppy, "lucky hat." Of course, the other kids make fun of her, but Ella wind them over. Because of the anxiety-provoking theme, we avoided this one until our kid had a chance to experience school (without putting negative ideas in her head first), but it's still a very nice book. The artwork, in particular, is fabulous: the crayon-y pastels have an old fashioned formality and elegance to them, and are strongly reminiscent of H.A. Rey's work in Curious George. Very classy, and visually appealing. (B+)


"Ella Takes The Cake"
Written by Carmela & Steven D'Amico
Illustrated by Carmela & Steven D'Amico
(Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2005)

While helping her mother in the family bakery, Ella volunteers to deliver a huge cake to the other side of Elephant Island. She runs into her self-centered friend, Belinda, who sidetracks her and leaves Ella in a lurch. Our little heroine perseveres, though, and gets the cake to the party on time, showing self-reliance and pluck the whole time. A very enjoyable story, particularly as it takes us on a tour of the Island... heck, there's even a map on the endpapers! Just the thing for kids who like to immerse themselves in well-defined, self-contained imaginary worlds. Plus, Ella's such a cutie! (A)


"Ella Sets The Stage"
Written by Carmela & Steven D'Amico
Illustrated by Carmela & Steven D'Amico
(Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2006)

When all the other kids in school sign up for a big talent show, shy Ella runs the support committee, eventually helping them all out in big ways and small. Another winner in this series, this introduces several compelling characters among her classmates... Hope to see more of them soon! (A)


"Ella Sarah Gets Dressed"
Written by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
(Harcourt, 2003)

This is one of the best children's books of recent vintage, about a headstrong little girl who wakes up one day with a very specific -- and very distinctive -- outfit in mind: her pink polka-dot pants, a dress with the orange-and-green flowers, purple-and-blue striped socks, yellow shoes and her red hat. Although various family members try to discourage her, Ella Sarah sticks to her guns, and dresses the way she wants to -- just in time for a dress-up party with some visiting friends. I've seen where some parents find this book too negative (ie, Ella throwing a mild fit and then "getting her way..."), but I fall pretty flatly on the side of those who see this book as a celebration of individuality and the creative spirit. Plus the artwork is cool: it won a Caldicott award, and deservedly so. Recommended! (A)


"Emily And Alice"
Written by Joyce Champion
Illustrated by Sucie Stevenson
(Voyager, 1993)

(-)


"Emily And Alice Again"
Written by Joyce Champion
Illustrated by Sucie Stevenson
(Harcourt Brace/Gulliver, 1995)

Three simple stories about friendship between two young girls... In the first story, Emily just has to have the new Alice's sunglasses, and goes to great lengths to set up a trade. In the second, Alice gets a new hat, but is too self-conscious to wear it to school; Emily helps bolster her confidence. The third story involves a scary sleepover: if you're avoiding the whole "scared of the dark" topic, skip this last one. These stories are nice -- they show the give-and-take of normal, emotionally supportive relationships. Nothing fancy, but it shows a good friendship with a degree of complexity and give-and-take dynamics. (B)


"Emily And Alice, Best Friends"
Written by Joyce Champion
Illustrated by Sucie Stevenson
(Gulliver, 2001)

(-)


"Emily And Alice Stick Together"
Written by Joyce Champion
Illustrated by Sucie Stevenson
(Gulliver, 2001)

(-)


"Emily Just In Time"
Written by Jan Slepian
Illustrated by Glo Coalson
(Putnam/Philomel, 1998)

I absolutely love Glo Coalson's artwork, and the gently rendered transitions from toddler to pre-teen than are subtly placed in this story are what make this book so touching. The story is sweet, too, about a little girl named Emily who grows "from not-being-able to now-she-can," learning how to go down the slide, do somersaults, and -- ultimately -- to spend the night away from home. The story is sweet, although the text is rather clunky... I regularly shorten various pages and change the wording, but my daughter loves this book. She was especially drawn to it because she has a little rocking chair just like the one in the book, and had just learned how to sit in it when we first picked Emily up. This might not be for everyone, but our family really likes it. (B+)


"Emily Loves To Bounce"
Written by Stephen Michael King
Illustrated by Stephen Michael King
(Penguin Putnam/Philomel, 2003)

This one's exuberant, but kinda dumb. It's about a girl who likes to bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce, bounce! All over the place. She really has fun. Great art, but that's about the extent of the plot. I dig King's style, but he's done better than this -- I've tried reading it to my kid a few different times, but always get a really muted response. Oh, well. (C+)


"Emily's Balloon"
Written by Komako Sakai
Illustrated by Komako Sakai
(Chronicle, 2003)

A really sweet children's book from Japan. Little Emily, a quiet, adorable toddler, gets a big yellow balloon while out with her mother, and brings it home, treating it as her new best friend for the rest of the day. This book marvellously captures the subdued sense of wonder that goes on inside little children's heads, and perfectly depicts an everyday experience as seen from their point of view. In emotional terms, it rings true on every level, even if it is a bit precious. If you ask me, this one's a winner -- at the right age, this book will blow your kid's mind! (A)


"Emily's Valentine Party"
Written by Claire Masurel
Illustrated by Susan Calitri
(Penguin/Puffin, 1999)

Emily -- flap books, sticker books and all -- is a bit of an industry, but nonetheless these are pretty nice books for little readers who like nicey-nice stories. Very cute little bunny! (-)


"Emily's First Day Of School"
Written by Claire Masurel
Illustrated by Susan Calitri
(Penguin/Puffin, 2000)

The start of a cute, simple series starring a cartoonish, preschool-age bunny named Emily... Here, she gets dropped off at preschool, along with her friends Charlie and Hillary, meets the teacher, finds her cubby, does some art, plays and has lunch, makes some music and then goes home. It's all very visually appealing and happily idealistic, with big flaps to lift that bring your kid in on the adventure. A fine going-off-to-school picturebook!
(B)


"Emily's Dance Class"
Written by Claire Masurel
Illustrated by Susan Calitri
(Penguin/Puffin, 2001)

Another nice, simple, optimistic Emily story, with the cute lil' bunny girl going to her ballet class, where they dress up pretty, point their toes, hop off the ground and spin around with ribbons. A pretty good representation of what preschool-age dance classes are like... Very cute and encouraging.
(B)


"Emily And Her Daddy"
Written by Claire Masurel
Illustrated by Susan Calitri
(Penguin/Puffin, 2003)

Awwwwwww...! A daddy book! Who can resist?? (-)


"Emma In Charge"
Written by David McPhail
Illustrated by David McPhail
(Dutton, 2005)

Revisiting the little girl-bear from Emma's Pet (below), McPhail paints a lovely picture of daily play in a toddler's life. In the morning, Emma rounds up some of her dolls, feeds them breakfast, takes them to "school" and even to the "zoo" (where they see their gray, fluffy housecat snoozing on an armchair). Emma's fantasy life is easily recognizable and completely genuine... You'll feel all warm and fuzzy reading this one, and the littlest readers will love it, too. (B)


"Emma's Lamb"
Written by Kim Lewis
Illustrated by Kim Lewis
(McMillan, 1991)
British author Kim Lewis specializes in realistic representations of traditional farm life in the English countryside; many of Lewis' books have a somewhat severe character to them, an anti-sentimentalism which not only acknowledges, but emphasizes the unbendable realities of farm life. This one's kind of an exception to the rule, though, a cute, comedic story about a little girl who is given a stray lamb to watch over while her father looks for the missing ewe. Emma thinks the lamb would make a nice pet and that she could take care of it herself... She plays with it as though it were a dolly, but eventually realizes that (A)

"Emma's Pet"
Written by David McPhail
Drawn by David McPhail
(Dutton, 1985)

This one's super-cute and a perennial favorite among parents and librarians... A little girl announces that she wants a big, warm, cuddly new pet, but has trouble finding one she likes. Finally, she comes home and sees one that looks just right: her dad. Father's Day present, anyone? Yeah, this one is a little Hallmark card-ish, but it's still enjoyable. As always, McPhail's art is a delight, and indeed, this is one of his strongest works, in terms of its graphic qualities. (B+)


"Emma's Vacation"
Written by David McPhail
Illustrated by David McPhail
(Penguin/Scholastic, 1987)

Emma the bear goes on vacation with her folks... They pack the days in with trips to amusement parks and fast-food restaurants... it's all very fun and exciting, until one day Emma asks them just to stay at the cabin and hang out there. What can we do here? her parents grumble, and Emma shows them, leading them on nature walks and mellow outdoorsy activities... Cute! (B)


"Emmett's Pig"
Written by Mary Stolz
Illustrated by Garth Williams
(Harper Collins, 1959)

A sweet story about a city kid who loves pigs and desperately wants to own a real one (for some kids, it's ponies, for Emmett, it's pigs...) His parents explain that they can't have a pig in their apartment, and they also can't move to a farm, but they come up with a compromise when they take their son out to a farm where the owners have set a piglet aside for Emmett to own. After he goes back home, the boy writes letters to his pig and sends money for treats, and dreams of the day when he can go back to visit the pig again. Of course, the story sidesteps the realities of animal husbandry, but if you don't dwell on that aspect, this is a lovely book. Although it's an early reader/chapter book, the plot is very clear and direct, as is the text. The lovely artwork from Garth Williams helps a lot as well. A nice look at the kinds of passions and fixations little kids can have, and creative, loving ways to address them. Recommended! (B+)


"Emperor Of Absurdia"
Written by Chris Riddell
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
(Harper Collins, 2009)

I came across Chris Riddell's artwork through his collaborations with Paul Stewart and in the Ottoline and Far-Flung Tales series... It's great stuff! This picturebook is geared towards younger readers, a self-consciously Seuss-ian outing where a toddler enters a fantasy world filled with swirly, fantastical creatures. The pictures are amazing, although the plot is rather slight. Didn't do much for me as an adult reader, but I can easily see the artwork captivating young readers for hours on end. Certainly worth checking out. (B-)


"Ernst"
Written by Elisa Kleven
Illustrated by Elisa Kleven
(Tricycle Press, 1989)

Elisa Kleven's first children's book, in which we are introduced to her lively, detail-packed graphic style, as well as to the recurrent character, Ernst the blue crocodile. Ernst is a dreamy, freespirited little boy who lives in a world of willful imagination and endless possibilities... On one special day he asks fanciful questions all day long and goes to sleep and dreams of oceans of fudge and flying to the stars, then wakes up the next morning to have a wonderful birthday... The book introduces Kleven's trademark style, full of kooky curlicues, zillions of dots of color and delightfully distracting details... The story is a little daffy (I like other Kleven books better, this is still good...) but it's also quite charming, especially if you like dreamy kids. One slight problem arises in the reintroduction of the Ernst character a few years later in the book, The Puddle Pail (and later still in 2006's The Wishing Ball...) It's a wonderful book, and it's fun to see Ernst again, except that there's a continuity issue with the introduction of Ernst's older brother, Sol, who was nowhere to been seen in this first story. Was Sol away at summer camp? Military school? Boy Scouts? And why do I get the feeling that I'm the only one worrying about this stuff? Anyway, this is a sweet story, and a nice introduction to a character who later stars in two great books. Worth checking out. (B)


"Everybody Bonjours!"
Written by Leslie Kimmelman
Illustrated by Sarah McMenemy
(Knopf, 2008)

A preschoolers-eye view of a trip to Paris, starting with packing at home and flying on a plane, ending up in a pretty apartment/hotel room, with a great view of the city. A lively, colorful book with very little text, outside of a nice, brief appendix page that describes several of the places seen in the book. This would be a great book to read in preparation of a vacation with a very small child. (-)


"Everywhere Babies"
Written by Susan Meyers
Illustrated by Marla Frazee
(Harcourt, 2001)

One of our favorite books during our pre-toddler days... This wonderful volume shows little babies in a wide variety of activities -- eating, sleeping, pooping, playing, going out in the stroller, learning how to walk, etc. -- always surrounded by loving, attentive adults. There are other books that cover this same territory, but I have yet to read one that does it as well. A huge part of the success is the fabulous artwork by Marla Frazee, who captures toddlers perfectly and gives you glimpses of personality while ably conveying all the information the text calls for. (Wish she'd do more work!!) If you check out reviews of this book elsewhere (on Amazon, mainly) you'll find a sizable contingent of people stewing over the fact that same-sex couples are presented matter-of-factly, without comment, alongside single parents and hetero couples. All I can say is, this is great book, and the adults depicted within clearly love and protect the children they are taking care of, and that's what matters. All that other stuff is being projected on the book from outside, and shouldn't be allowed to chase people away from one of the best baby books on the market. Our kid loved this picturebook, and it really helped her understand her role in life and the kind of adventures she could have. Highly recommended. (A)




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