Book Review: Ellie McDoodle – Have Pen, Will Travel
Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel
By Ruth McNally Barshaw
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
An Important Business Man runs into another Important Business Man on Wall Street:
I.B.M. 1: So, have you heard about the story/illustration merger?
I.B.M. 2: Yes, yes, but that’s only affecting teens.
IBM 1: Well that’s true, male teenagers have been reaping big rewards. But it’s having trickle-down effects to younger children as well.
IBM 2: Ha! Look, the next thing you’re going to be telling me is that girls will be seeing some benefits. Man, are you out of touch or what?
IBM 1: Well then let me show you (hands over a copy of “Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen Will Travel”). The evidence is right here. The merger has been very successful. It’s about a girl who is forced to go camping with relatives she doesn’t like. The book itself is the sketchbook that she brought on her trip. It’s amazing, she documents everything that happened.
IBM 2: Alright, some kid’s drawings. How is this a book?
IBM 1: The story is in there too. It’s sort of like a cross between a sketchbook and a diary. Over the course of seven days, Ellie gets to know these people that she had judged as being weird. You ever meet someone you didn’t think you’d get along with and end up becoming friends? Ellie goes through that in this book.
IBM 2: So there’s some stuff in there about being open-minded and giving people a chance?
IBM 1: Yep. There’s a lot of humor too. If you’ve even been camping you know there’s a lot of situations to draw from.
IBM 2: What’s camping? It that like when you have to go to your second choice restaurant?
IBM 1: Uh, no. I’m sure you’ve seen it: tents, forests, campfires. Although in “Have Pen, Will Travel” Ellie and her relatives do “fake camping”, as she calls it – they stay in a cabin. Look, you’re a friend, so I’m going to let you in on this. I just bought 1000 shares of Graphic Novels for Upper Elementary Girls, and I suggest you do the same.
IBM 2: Well that stock has been on the rise lately, especially when the “Babymouse” IPO went public. I may just take your advice.
IBM 1: (iPhone rings) Well, I have to take this call. Back to work!
IBM 2: (Putting book in briefcase) Is it okay if I borrow this book? I think my daughter might be interested.
IBM 1: (Cracking a sly grin) Not a problem.
Also reviewed by: A Fuse #8 Production, Book Bits, A Year of Reading, Becky’s Book Reviews.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat
Click here to visit Ruth McNally Barshaw’s website
Filed under: *Best New Books*, Reviews
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 email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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