Ella has an enviable collection of umbrellas. They are colourful and speckled, sparkly and spotty, and she treasures every one. Her favourite, however, is the one that is “robin’s egg blue,” a gift from “kind Aunt Stella from far-off Kathmandu.” She is understandably excited about Aunt Stella’s imminent arrival. There’s just one problem: Ella’s umbrellas are everywhere! Much to Ella’s chagrin, her mother insists she get
rid of them.
Ella’s first attempts at clearing out her collection are comically feeble. After all, it’s not easy giving away your favourite things, so why try too hard? Then the rain begins to fall, and Ella finds a way to provide shelter for a drenched passerby. This happens a few more times until, slowly, Ella recognizes that her resentment and regret have given way to a strangely good feeling deep inside. Can it be that giving away her umbrellas feels better than keeping them to herself?
Ella’s Umbrellas is an enchanting combination of Jennifer Lloyd’s playful, alliterative text and Ashley Spires’ quirky watercolours. Both provide knowing, gentle humour and contribute to the story’s sweet conclusion.
A kindergarten teacher by day in Blainville, Quebec, Lloyd understands the way in which children cling to their possessions and find it difficult to share. Her text is light and rhythmic, setting just the right tone for reading aloud.
Meanwhile, Spires, the B.C.-based author and illustrator of Binky the Space Cat and Penguin and the Cupcake, brings her characteristic wit to Ella’s story. Her illustrations breathe life and energy into every scene. Little details add interest: Ella’s cat pops up in several scenes, while the ubiquitous umbrellas provide numerous opportunities for younger readers to count aloud.
Jennifer Lloyd is a kindergarten teacher in Blainville, Quebec. She is the author of One Winter Night and Looking for Loons. Ashley Spires is an acclaimed illustrator of over five books including The Red Shoes and Penguin and the Cupcake. Ashley currently lives in Saskatchewan.