The book I am reviewing tonight is titled Ellie McDoodle Have Pen, Will Travel by Ruth McNally Barshaw.
I enjoyed the cover art. It was simple, yet colorful and the yellow background really catches your eye. I have an earlier copy of the book and my cover features a bonus section about drawing tips from Ellie. For the aspiring author and/or illustrator, this is a nice bonus.
The genre for this book is fiction that centers on a young girl who has to spend a week with family members that she is not to fond of. Ellie wastes no time displaying her dismay and frustration with the week ahead that she faces.
The story starts with Ellie being taking to the home of her cousins and their parents. Together, they set out on a journey to go camping. Ellie has definite opinions as to what camping is and is not. I found her notebook entry on page 25 to be comical. Ellie describes tent camping as the camping that "real" campers do, and cabin camping and the camping that "fake" campers do.
Slowly, but surely, Ellie starts to come around as she faces some fun adventures and challenges with her cousins, and Ellie discovers that her and her Aunt Mug have some things in common that Ellie never expected. In the end, Ellie realizes that her family is a lot more fun and adventurous than she ever gave them credit for and she discovers that she enjoys their company.
The illustrations are wonderful. They are simple, yet detailed. Half of the adventure of reading this book lay within the illustrations because they bring so much of the story line to life. I particularly loved how her cousin Eric was always drawn as a monster until Ellie discovered that he wasn't so bad after all, and suddenly he became a boy. This illustrated detail of Eric was accompanied by the Ellie always writing Er-ick in her notebook when she referred to him.
I found Ellie to be a little snarky in the beginning. She had a bad attitude and I was unsure if I would enjoy this book considering those attributes about her. I actually ended up reading this book aloud to my two children as we sat outside attending our garage sale one day and we finished it the next day as we were on a two hour road trip. As I read, I was able to see where some of the story was going so I stuck it out. I was glad I did because my children enjoyed the story and we all heard a lesson about not judging others, making assumptions, and that we likely have a lot in common with others if we just gave them a chance. I also liked how Aunt Mug gently reminded Ellie that keeping her feelings bottled up within the pages of her notebook was no way to truly express herself and witness change or discovery. It is fine to start in the notebook, but sometimes you have to verbalize it to understand and get other points of view.
I would suggest this book for upper elementary and the beginning of middle school. The lessons within are more appropriate for that age level, and I feel that children in that age range could better identify with Ellie. I do feel this book is a great example of how to journal and write in ways that are more enticing and fun for students. Ellie turned her journal into an adventure and it is helpful for students to see that they too can create fun journals and notebooks all while hitting the educational goals of their teacher.
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Ellie McDoodle is set out on an adventure that she isn't very happy about when her parents drop her and her baby brother, Ben-Ben, off at her cousin's house while her parents take a trip to visit family. Ellie is unhappy about this because she is not very fond of her aunt and uncle and cousins. It makes her especially unhappy because her aunt and uncle are going camping and take her and her little brother along with them. Ellie keeps a journal of her adventures with her family.
At the beginning of the book, Ellie makes fun of her family by calling them names and talking about how dreadful she is to be with them. On the second day, it is raining outside and Ellie is not excited to be inside with the relatives all day long. They eat her least favorite kind of cereal, and when she asks to go out for a walk Aunt Mug tell her no. Later in the day, the whole family plays spoons and even though Ellie won't admit it to anyone, she has fun. Ellie's cousin, who she calls, Er-ick, finds her book and reads it and gives it Aunt Mug who also reads it. Aunt Mug has a long talk with Ellie about how she can't only write down her feels and that she needs to let them out and talk to them about things. It is at this time that Ellie starts to enjoy her self while camping.
I think this is a great book for 10-year-olds or older. I don't think that the book should go any lower than that because of the name calling and putting her family down. If I was using this book in my classroom or with my own children, I would make sure that they knew that these things are not nice to do.
I love how the author sets up the book in the journal setting. It is very fun and interactive way for kids to read.
BY RUTH MCNALLY BARSHAW
Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel is a totally fun adventure brought to life by narrator and professional doodler Eleanor McDougle. She is known to the world and the readers of her journal as Ellie McDoodle. The adventure consists of silly family-filled days. Ellie's parents go out of town, so her and her bouncy baby brother Ben-Ben go on a family camping trip with her cousins and aunt and uncle. As any writer and doodler would do, Ellie describes and over-dramatizes her camping trip in a journal. Er-ICK, Ug, Ew-ing, Deanna, Prissy Tiffie, and Ben-Ben make life a living nightmare for Ellie. Somehow, with the help of her journal, a new friend named Scott, some frogs, Ellie just might make it through the camping trip...
I enjoyed Ellie McDoodle's McAdventures. She has a sassy and sheltered perspective of the world around her. She seems to think the world--and all her loved ones living in it--is against her! Unfortunately, Ellie used some not-so-nice language to describe her family. But then again, don't we all sometimes? I think this book is full of wisdom that some adults should here. It gives a good message about facing fears and being courageous.
The genre of the book is fiction and fun. Ellie's doodles are absolutely awesome. She draws each of the characters in her journal and she gives them a personality and a face, emphasizing her "icky" boy cousin Erick as a six-armed dinosaur. As a reader, I loved being able to see how a young girl thinks about the world. I felt as though I was in the story myself. I wonder what Ellie would have thought of me and my crazy personality. Maybe she would have drawn me as a bird, flapping my wings and chirping all over the place. Overall, fun doodles and funky words made the book fun for ages 10+. I thought the vocabulary was inviting to all ages over ten years. This book would be a fun read during indoor recess or on the bus ride home from school. Ellie McDoodle is an adventure waiting to be had by any lucky student!
Through trial and triumph, Ellie learned the importance of family and forgiveness! That's something I hope everyone who picks up a copy of this book will do. Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel made me want to pick up my journal and start writing!
During her experience, she keeps on getting blamed for things, and bad things happen to her during the trip. During the book, she meets a boy and hangs with in for parts of it. She has said many mean things about her cousins, and aunt and uncle in her diary, which later they find and get upset about. She has a bad time for most of the book. After apologizing to her family members she starts having a good time camping and ends up being sad that it has ended.
The illustrations in the book are good and pretty spot on for it is the character drawing it. The author made it look like an eleven-year-old drew it. The drawings match with the story line and with what is going on in the book. She also altered what some of the characters look like, like how her cousin Eric looks like a monster in the beginning of the book because she doesn't like him then, later on, she draws him like how he really suppose to look like.
Overall the book is very creative and fun for kids to read. It gives the reading a visual of what goes on which helps a lot sometimes. It was a pretty decent paste and kind of stayed on the story line. It gave little fun tips on survival on the characters view. The book would be a good suggestion for kids that want a fun book to read. It will also get them to like books more with the fun in it.
Ellie's doodles are what I personally believe make this story what it is. They're realistic for a girl her age and depicts everything that is happening with a little humor. I did love how she incorporated the illustrations into the story telling without taking away from the story.
Before reading this I believed it was meant for younger children, but after reading it I think all ages can read it. The lessons Ellie learns are meant for anyone and everyone.
ELLIE MCDOODLE HAVE PEN, WILL TRAVEL
By: Ruth McNally Barshaw
Ellie McDoodle Have Pen, WIll Travel is a fun book which exceeds the expectations of a “normal” book. The layout of comic sketches and unique print designs automatically intrigues the reader. The main character, Ellie, keeps a secret journal which she uses to record many happenings and her thoughts. She has a unique outlook on things and her entries are often quite comical.
In this book, Ellie has to stay with her cousins, aunt, and uncle while her parents go out of town. Ellie does not shy away from sharing her opinion that this is going to be horrible. They all go camping and the trip does not run smoothly. Ellie eventually finds ways to have fun, sometimes at the spite of her cousins, although at the end they all bond. At the end of the trip Ellie had a different outlook on things and even said she had a great time.
Ellie McDoodle Have Pen, WIll Travel is part of the “Ellie McDoodle” series. This book resembles a diary or journal format. It is a realistic fiction book and many students could relate to it. Some of the illustration sketches are simple enough that a student could replicate it. This book is a wonderful example of how to include pictures in a writing to really develop the story.
I think many students would enjoy reading this book. While I enjoyed the many sketches and comic like vibe, I think this could be very distracting for some students. I think this would be a good book for a more experienced reader as opposed to a student who has a more difficult time following and comprehending a story. I really enjoyed the ties to Michigan throughout the book. The sketch of Ellie’s hand representing the map of Michigan was neat and it could tie into a geographical lesson as well. I think this would be a good book for students third grade or older and I will definitely keep it in mind when my students are looking for books!
Growing up we all had those annoying cousins, ones that we were only willing to be around during the holidays. Although poor Ellie had to go camping with her Aunt, Uncle and her most annoying cousins and baby brother. The only item she had with her was her trustworthy journal, she wrote in it all the time and drew what she was experiencing, although her cousin Eric kept on trying to get ahold of her journal to see what she was saying and what she was drawing made her dislike the whole camping trip even more.
If you think having a evil cousin who keeps trying to take your things and just won't stop being gross and playing rude tricks on you is the worst part you would be wrong. Try having to sleep under your cousin who pees the bed!! That is totally gross!! Poor Ellie just wants to be left alone so she starts to go on a walk when she meets the totally dreamy Scott who also is camping at the same place she is! Ruth McNally Bashaw did a splendid job of capturing the emotions that us young teens have when we are trying to figure out who we are exactly, we hate being bothered all the time and we just want to be alone. We young girls always tend to develop crushes on the first boy who is interested in the same things at we are so expressing Ellie's emotions about Scott is a great detail to add for all the girls who're having their own crushes.
The Ellie McDoodle Diaries is a great series to read for young children to read who are not totally interested in the whole Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I would say this collection is more for young girls and the Wimpy Kid series are more towards young men, although either gender can read each series.
I would most certainly recommend this book for pre-teens ages 10-14, while we go through mixed feelings about our family members, crushes and just wanting to be alone the way that Ellie grows up can inspire others who're experiencing the same feelings to quite possibly do a little growing up themselves.