|Image from BarnesandNoble.com|
This is Ella’s book and she’s here to tell you that it’s a wonderful book because there are absolutely no bears in it. According to Ella, there are lots of things you need for a really good book: pretty things, scary things, funny things, castles, princesses, a monster, but no bears, not even one. As Ella creates her story, about a princess who is chased by a scary monster, it’s a good thing she doesn’t notice the benevolent bear hiding behind the pages of her book.
The fun element of this book is that the text tells Ella’s story, but the illustrations show quite a different story. The text is written from Ella’s point of view and is conversational, spoken directly to the reader, making it a great read aloud book. Rudge’s illustrations are delicate and whimsical, using a soft palate and lots of fun patterns. The clever illustrations not only tell Ella’s story, but manage to include a host of other fairy tale characters, from Red Riding Hood to Rapunzel.
If you’re looking to plan a humorous storytime, pair this book with More Bears. Both books have a central character in charge of writing the story who wants absolutely nothing to do with bears. This book also fits nicely into a fractured fairy tale storytime as well.
As you read the story, tell the kids to be on the look out for any bears that might slip into the book without Ella knowing it. If you’re reading this to a large group of kids, make sure to walk around so that everyone can see the bear. The bear doesn’t pop out of the illustrations, so kids will need a closer look at times. After you read the story, have the kids rewrite a classic bear story (like Goldilocks and the 3 Bears), but without the bears.
It’s also interesting to note that this is book was originally published in Australia. In the Australian version the girl is named Ruby, not Ella, but when the book was being prepped for release in the U.S. the publisher decided there were too many books with girls named Ruby, and asked McKinlay to come up with another name. So if you Google this book, you'll find information using Ruby and Ella interchangeably.