About Sarah Ellis

Vancouver writer and critic Sarah Ellis is on the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Review of My Family Tree and Me

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My Family Tree and Me by Dušan Petričić; illus. by the author Primary   Kids Can   24 pp. 4/15   978-1-77138-049-2   $16.95 The truth that if one’s parents hadn’t met one wouldn’t exist is a head-exploding realization of childhood. In this celebration of ancestry, Petričić bounces off that revelation to create an innovative introduction to the ordinary […]

Review of Detective Gordon: The First Case

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Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson; illus. by Gitte Spee; trans. from the Swedish by Julia Marshall Primary, Intermediate   Gecko   96 pp. 4/15   978-1-927271-49-0   $16.99 e-book ed. 978-1-927271-72-8   $9.99 This Swedish import stars toad Detective Gordon, “Chief of Police and Chief of Detectives in the forest.” He’s elderly (for a toad: nineteen), cerebral, […]

Review of The Tight-Rope Walkers

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The Tight-Rope Walkers by David Almond High School   Candlewick   326 pp. 3/15   978-0-7636-7310-9   $17.99   g Dom is a clever, working-class boy from the north of England, beloved of his teachers, the hope of his parents. It’s the early 1960s, an optimistic period in British education, when the son of a shipbuilder could plausibly end up […]

Review of Home

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Home by Carson Ellis; illus by the author Preschool, Primary   Candlewick   40 pp. 2/15   978-0-7636-6529-6   g Ellis presents a dreamy, painterly meditation on the diversity and range of dwellings around the world and across time and imagination. “Home is a house in the country,” the text begins, and the illustration shows a simple-looking house with […]

Review of Harlem Hellfighters

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Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis; 
illus. by Gary Kelley Intermediate, Middle School   Creative Editions   32 pp. 9/14   978-1-56846-246-2   $18.99 The story of the 15th New York National Guard, or the “Harlem Hellfighters,” an all-black regiment that joined the Great War in its final year, is a revealing lens through which to view that conflict. […]

Review of Nuts to You

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Nuts to You by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author Intermediate    Greenwillow    260 pp. 8/14    978-0-06-009275-7    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-226220-2    $8.99 Jed the squirrel’s odyssey begins dramatically when he is captured by a hawk and carried far away from his community. Using an “ancient squirrel defensive martial art,” he escapes and so begins his […]

Review of Rain Reign

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Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin Intermediate    Feiwel    226 pp. 10/14    978-0-312-64300-3    $16.99    g e-book ed.  978-1-250-06423-3    $9.99 Eleven-year-old Rose’s “official diagnosis is high-functioning autism.” She lives with her single dad, who does not have the resources, material or emotional, to be a parent. At school she is laughed at by her classmates. Her life […]

Review of Very Little Red Riding Hood

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Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teresa Heapy; illus. by Sue Heap Preschool    Houghton    32 pp. 9/14    978-0-544-28000-7    $16.99 In this re-imagining, Little Red is a toddler. She’s affectionate, stubborn, imperious, and has no time for the intimidation techniques of the wolf. “No touch my cakes!” She hugs him, calls him Foxie, and proceeds to […]

Review of Hermelin the Detective Mouse

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Hermelin the Detective Mouse by Mini Grey; illus. by the author Primary    Knopf    32 pp. 8/14    978-0-385-75433-0    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-385-75434-7    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-385-75435-4    $10.99 A double-page spread shows us Offley Street, a panorama of seven row houses, each revealing, in glimpses through windows and open doors, small mysteries and nascent stories that figure […]

Review of A Pond Full of Ink

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A Pond Full of Ink by Annie M. G. Schmidt; trans. 
from the Dutch by David Colmer; illus. by Sieb Posthuma Intermediate    Eerdmans    40 pp. 3/14    978-0-8028-5433-9    $16.00    g A skinny, long-nosed poet fills his pen from the ink pond in his garden and offers the reader a selection of story poems featuring personalities old […]