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Review: My Name Is Elizabeth! By Annika Dunklee

My Name Is Elizabeth
By Annika Dunklee
Illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
Kids Can Press
ISBN: 9781554535606
Grades PreK-2
In Stores

*Best New Book*

We just refuse to leave names alone, don’t we? There must be some gene that compels us to take every perfectly good name and shorten it, twist it, and (in some cases) completely maul it until it is unrecognizable. How else do you explain the fact that I have friends who call me Danke Schön? My Name Is Elizabeth! addresses this phenomenon with shrewd  storytelling and humor. It’s also a wonderfully subtle endorsement for having the confidence to stick up for yourself. Pretty much every kid who has a name will approve.

Elizabeth likes her name. It’s Elizabeth, by the way. That’s E. Liz. Abeth. For some reason, everyone in her life, from her granddad to her classmates insist on calling her Lizzy or Liz or Beth. But when the crossing guard drops a “Betsy”, it’s the last straw. Elizabeth firmly (but calmly) sets the record straight.

The text appears entirely in word bubbles spoken by the characters and is wonderfully efficient, giving the book a smoothness that readers can ride uninterrupted until the last page. It’s a beautiful thing to see every letter in its place, and that’s what Dunklee has achieved here.

The powder blue and orange palate (reminiscent of Sergio Makes a Splash) combine with the pen & ink, gouche, and digital art for a retro feel that has the look of block print.

A topic kids will relate to told with some serious skill, My Name Is Elizabeth! will work wonders in a storytime setting or individually. Can’t ask for much more than that.

Review copy from the publisher

Also reviewed by A Fuse #8 Production, A Year of Reading, Waking Brain Cells.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.