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Ella Sarah Gets Dressed [Hardcover]

Margaret Chodos-Irvine
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 17.95
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Book Description

April 28 2003 Caldecott Honor Book
Ella Sarah may be little, but she has a BIG sense of style--and it isn't at all like that of her mother, father, and older sister. Yet they all want her to dress just like them! Ella Sarah will have none of it--and when her flamboyantly dressed friends arrive, it's clear that Ella Sarah's favorite outfit is just right for her. Written and illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine, this spirited, Caldecott Honor-winning story
will gently nudge young children toward independence--providing plenty of exuberant colors and patterns to identify along the way.

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Product Description

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-K-In typical toddler fashion, Ella Sarah has her own ideas about what she should wear and persists in her choices despite her family's suggestions. "Her father said, `That outfit is too fancy. Why don't you wear your yellow T-shirt with white shorts, and your tennis shoes?'" Ella Sarah replies with what becomes her refrain. "I want to wear my pink polka-dot pants, my dress with orange-and-green flowers, my purple-and-blue striped socks, my yellow shoes, and my red hat!" At the end, her equally "well-dressed" friends arrive for a tea party. The larger-than-life family members tower over Ella Sarah, with only their torsos and legs showing. The exuberant illustrations, "created using a variety of printmaking techniques," dance and tumble across the pages, adding emotion to her refrain. The vibrant yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples work together surprisingly well-Ella Sarah doesn't look as shocking as one would imagine. This should be a hit at storytime or for one-on-one sharing.
Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* PreS. Young Ella Sarah is a kid with flair, and she has a special outfit in mind: "my pink polka-dot pants, my dress with orange-and-green flowers, my purple-and-blue striped socks, my yellow shoes, and my red hat." Mom, Dad, and Big Sister offer alternate ensembles, complaining that Ella Sarah's outfit is "too dressy" and "too silly," but Ella Sarah insists on her own choice and finally manages to pull everything on. Then the doorbell rings. In walks a crowd of Ella Sarah's young friends, dressed in equally flamboyant clothes, and the glamorous kids enjoy a tea party. With minimal words and her signature art marked by bright, bold prints, Chodos-Irvine perfectly captures a universal childhood struggle. Preschoolers will enjoy chanting along with Ella Sarah's often repeated list of clothing, and the illustrations create strong mood and movement with just a few opaque shapes, beautifully conveying Ella Sarah's gestures, from pre-tantrum stuffed-animal tosses to the wrestling war of getting dressed to her smug tea pouring at the story's end. Young children will easily see themselves in Ella Sarah's fierce defiance, and they'll delight in her gleefully bold fashion statement. A perfect read-aloud for the dress-up crowd. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
One morning, Ella Sarah got up and said, "I want to wear my pink polka-dot pants, my dress with orange-and-green flowers, my purple-and-blue striped socks, my yellow shoes, and my red hat." Read the first page
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Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fashionistas start young, it seems. June 7 2004
Format:Hardcover
To the bafflement of most of the knowledgeable children's literature world, "Ella Sarah Gets Dressed" garnered itself the prestigious and highly sought after Caldecott Honor Award in early 2004. It beat such potential contenders as Peter Sis's, "Tree of Life" and Gerald McDermott's, "Creation", both far worthier (in my humble opionion) winners. This isn't to say that the book is bad. As a charming tale about a stubborn toddler and her intense desire to wear the clothing of her own choice, the book is sweet and good-natured. Just the same, I was amazed by its reception.

As far as the plot goes, it's fairly basic. Ella Sarah plods around the house in her sheep pajamas, a floppity stuffed animal (with the nose and mouth of a martini glass) accompanying her wherever she goes. Right from the start, our heroine knows exactly what kind of clothing she would like to wear. Says she, "I want to wear my pink polka-dot pants, my dress with orange-and-green flowers, my purple-and-blue striped socks, my yellow shoes, and my red hat". Her mother complains that the outfit is too dressy. She suggests an alternative, which is met with Ella Sarah's reiterated desire. Her father says it's too fancy and she repeats her outfit (this time accompanied by a very realistic tantrumesque stamping on the floor). Her older sister says it's too silly and offers some clothes she's outgrown. Now the stuffed animal goes flying, as Ella Sarah proclaims her perfect outfit for the last time. Carefully she dresses herself in the colorful eclectic ensemble. When the doorbell rings we see that her friends are just as snazzy as our intrepid heroine. And with that, the four friends sit down to tea and donut holes. It is a colorful sight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ella Sarah: What She Ought To Wear.... March 27 2004
Format:Hardcover
Ella Sarah is a young woman with a mind of her own... a very young woman with a mind of her own.
This brightly bold picture book reflects the personality of the protagonist. Everyone else gives her "their wisdom" and seems to forget Ella Sarah has a vision all her own.
At the end, Ella Sarah follows her heart and wears exactly what she wanted to all along.... and then her friends who know and cherish her exactly as she is arrive and.... well, its a loving, bright and bold ending as well.
Your children will love this, especially those who are bold, bright little ones who have their own strong fashion opinions.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  24 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Caldecott is for illustrations Oct. 28 2004
By Turquoise Skunk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The reviewers who complained about why this book won the Caldecott Medal may not be aware that the Caldecott is given for the illustrations. Certainly, the outstanding illustrations in this book qualify it for the medal, even if the story isn't the most original. I love the colorful printmaking and the accurate depiction of a toddler's behavior. Not all books have to teach a moral lesson.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Ella Sarah! Nov. 16 2004
By Teresa H. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I adore Ella Sarah. Other reviewers are right that Ella Sarah does throw a mild tantrum in the book. I personally think it's a great tool for teaching toddlers. Ella Sarah clearly expresses what she wants (a list my 2-year-old daughter knows by heart), and when she is not supported in her wishes by her family members, she goes ahead and dresses herself. I personally think it's a lot better when a toddler can list off exactly what she wants to wear, rather than throw a incomprehensible fit. I adore Ella Sarah (and my daughter does too), because she is an independent, communicative and creative little girl!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lizzy loves it July 31 2005
By Barbara H. Nigra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My grandaughter has had color preference since birth. This book is among the "bed books" when she sleeps at MeMas'. Ella knows what she likes and sticks to her guns. The rest of the family has a different opinion - but honor hers. Ellas friends "get it too". Toddler validation. Who can argue?
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ella Sarah: What She Ought To Wear.... March 27 2004
By Julie Jordan Scott - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Ella Sarah is a young woman with a mind of her own... a very young woman with a mind of her own.
This brightly bold picture book reflects the personality of the protagonist. Everyone else gives her "their wisdom" and seems to forget Ella Sarah has a vision all her own.
At the end, Ella Sarah follows her heart and wears exactly what she wanted to all along.... and then her friends who know and cherish her exactly as she is arrive and.... well, its a loving, bright and bold ending as well.
Your children will love this, especially those who are bold, bright little ones who have their own strong fashion opinions.
17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fashionistas start young, it seems. June 7 2004
By E. R. Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
To the bafflement of most of the knowledgeable children's literature world, "Ella Sarah Gets Dressed" garnered itself the prestigious and highly sought after Caldecott Honor Award in early 2004. It beat such potential contenders as Peter Sis's, "Tree of Life" and Gerald McDermott's, "Creation", both far worthier (in my humble opionion) winners. This isn't to say that the book is bad. As a charming tale about a stubborn toddler and her intense desire to wear the clothing of her own choice, the book is sweet and good-natured. Just the same, I was amazed by its reception.

As far as the plot goes, it's fairly basic. Ella Sarah plods around the house in her sheep pajamas, a floppity stuffed animal (with the nose and mouth of a martini glass) accompanying her wherever she goes. Right from the start, our heroine knows exactly what kind of clothing she would like to wear. Says she, "I want to wear my pink polka-dot pants, my dress with orange-and-green flowers, my purple-and-blue striped socks, my yellow shoes, and my red hat". Her mother complains that the outfit is too dressy. She suggests an alternative, which is met with Ella Sarah's reiterated desire. Her father says it's too fancy and she repeats her outfit (this time accompanied by a very realistic tantrumesque stamping on the floor). Her older sister says it's too silly and offers some clothes she's outgrown. Now the stuffed animal goes flying, as Ella Sarah proclaims her perfect outfit for the last time. Carefully she dresses herself in the colorful eclectic ensemble. When the doorbell rings we see that her friends are just as snazzy as our intrepid heroine. And with that, the four friends sit down to tea and donut holes. It is a colorful sight.

Cute plot all right, but it's the illustrations that really take your breath away. Using a kind of paper cutout style (the publication page is a little unclear about this, content to merely call the process, "a variety of printmaking techniques") everyone is presented with a series of rounded colorful forms. We never see the heads of Ella Sarah's parents or older sibling, which makes perfect sense. After all, we're on a toddler's level with this book. No surprise there. Especially enjoyable are the printed backgrounds that make up the wallpaper, bedspreads, and rugs in this story. As for the outfit Ella Sarah eventually dons, it's a pip. If there is an award winning moment in this book then it is the two-page spread of the protagonist doffing a bright red hat. The hat is not only colorful, but also tilted at a rakish angle. It's just a quick moment of kiddie noir before we're back to the usual story.

Kids reading this tale will be inspired by it. It has the capacity to not only send a message like, "Just be yourself" but to also encourage kids to learn how to dress themselves. And heck, any kid with a wardrobe like Ella Sarah and her friends will probably want to learn how to dress forthwith. As you can see, this is a darling tale. It's not the most inspired or original in the world, but it has a very particular knack and charm to it that's adorable. A tale that will entice not only the parents of the world, but their kids as well.
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