Thursday, December 04, 2008

Ellie McDoodle New Kid In School

Ellie is convinced her life is over. She is moving to a new house, a new town, and a new school. She is sure that she won't make any new friends and that she will have the worst school experience ever.

Ellie and her friends come up with the idea to do a group journal...each friend will draw in it or write in it for one week and then pass it along. Ellie is first.

Ellie's problems start just as soon as she gets to her new house. In this house, she has to share a room with big sister Risa. This means zero privacy, as is witnessed by Risa peering over Ellie's shoulder as she writes in her journal. Ellie comes up with a plan to move to the attic. She has to make the attic unappealing to her sister, yet sell it to her folks at the same time.

Ellie is also exploring her new town. Right off she finds the public library and is quickly befriended by the Children's Librarian Miss Claire. While she is there she meets fellow kid Glenda, and in the neighbourhood she finds Travis. Maybe this whole moving thing won't be so bad.

But throw in an embarrassing situation involving a mall changing room, and couple that with something called "New Kid Bingo", and Ellie's road is a bit rough after all.

Ruth McNally Barshaw started this series with the book Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel, and fans of that book should love this one. Confession. I did not read the first book. Result. No big deal. I jumped right in and with the first bit of action being a move, it was smooth sailing.

This is a great book about a great family. The jokes are funny, the characters are realistic, and the diary/cartoon format is JUST what the kids are craving. I shopped this title to my fourth graders just after they had an AMAZING author visit with no other than Jimmy Gownley. They were in the mood for cartoons and drawing, so I grabbed this off my desk and read the first 53 pages. They all wanted to check it out (girls and boys), and they sat silently listening to the read.

Recommended for those looking for a bit of a meatier story than the Grace books, those Wimpy Kid readers, and kids who like realistic fiction friend and family stories.

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