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About Sarah Ellis

Sarah Ellis is a Vancouver-based writer and critic, recently retired from the faculty of The Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Review of Saving Winslow

Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech Intermediate    Cotler/HarperCollins    165 pp. 9/18    978-0-06-257070-3    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-06-257072-7    $17.89 e-book ed.  978-0-06-257073-4    $9.99 Creech interweaves the stories of three fragile babies. Two strands are backstories, and one is front, center, present, and loud. Louie had been a premature baby. Now he’s eleven, but the family story of his […]

Review of The Book of Boy

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock; illus. by Ian Schoenherr Intermediate, Middle School    Greenwillow    278 pp. 2/18    978-0-06-268620-6    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-268622-0    $7.99 Secundus is a pilgrim. A child, known simply as Boy, is a goatherd. Together they travel, master and servant, from France to Rome in the Holy Year of 1350. Each […]

Review of Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea

Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea by Lynne Rae Perkins; illus. by the author Intermediate   Greenwillow    227 pp.    g 5/18    978-0-06-249966-0    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-06-249968-4    $9.99 Midway through this episodic tale of a family beach vacation, main character Alix and her mother visit a craft store. They are both charmed by the model train scenery, […]

Review of The Creativity Project

The Creativity Project edited by Colby Sharp Intermediate    Little, Brown    278 pp. 3/18    978-0-316-50781-3    $16.99 e-book ed.  978-0-316-50778-3    $9.99 It’s a good premise. Forty-four contemporary children’s book people each contribute a writing prompt. Then each one responds to someone else’s prompt. The result is a combination anthology and inspiring craft manual. It’s diverse all ’round, […]

Review of Wed Wabbit

Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans Intermediate    Fickling/Scholastic    246 pp.    g 2/18    978-1-338-18527-0    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-338-18528-7    $10.99 This inventive and surprising fantasy adventure begins when Fidge’s little sister Minnie runs into traffic and is seriously injured. Ten-year-old Fidge, who feels responsible for the accident, is then sucked into another world, Wimbley Land, a place that […]

Review of Tumble & Blue

Tumble & Blue by Cassie Beasley; illus. by the author Intermediate    Dial    392 pp. 8/17    978-0-525-42844-2    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-698-18907-2    $10.99 Way back when, there were strange things done in the Okefenokee Swamp. A plot was set in motion by two bad people, horse thief Walcott Montgomery and murderer Almira LaFayette. Their descendants, especially a […]

Review of Life

Rylant, Cynthia Life 48 pp. Simon/Beach Lane 2017. ISBN 978-1-4814-5162-8 Ebook ISBN 978-1-4814-5163-5 (3) K–3 Illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. A reverie on life — its mutability, joys, and challenges — leads to a conclusion of hope: “There is always a new road to take.” The poetic (if slightly bromidic) text is given rigor and specificity […]

Review of Izzy Kline Has Butterflies: A Novel in Small Moments

Izzy Kline Has Butterflies: A Novel in Small Moments by Beth Ain Intermediate    Random    167 pp. 3/17    978-0-399-55080-5    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-399-55081-2    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-399-55082-9    $10.99 Fourth grader Izzy has her share of common woes — mean girls, school anxiety, auditions for a play, a dad […]

Review of Goldfish Ghost

Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicket; illus. by Lisa Brown Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    40 pp. 5/17    978-1-62672-507-2    $17.99 This story begins with a death framed in terms of a birth. “Goldfish Ghost was born on the surface of the water in a bowl on the dresser in a boy’s room.” Our hero […]

Review of Town Is by the Sea

 Town Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz; illus. by Sydney Smith Primary    Groundwood    56 pp. 4/17    978-1-55498-871-6    $19.95 “From my house, I can see the sea. It goes like this — house, road, grassy cliff, sea. And town spreads out, this way and that.” There’s a distilled, haiku-like quality to […]