- Pro Review
- Discovery Awards
ELLIE AND HER EMOTIONAL DRAGONS: Ellie’s First Day of School
By Joseph Goodrich
Ellie, a young elephant facing her first day at school, has the help of four dragon friends to cope with her difficult emotions.
ELLIE AND HER EMOTIONAL DRAGONS: Ellie’s First Day of School follows the adventures of an adorable young elephant as she deals with her first day of school, a momentous and difficult event for many children. Ellie, though, has the help of four dragons, each of whom assists her with a different emotion: green Naz, who helps her cope with fear, blue Nali, who offers comfort when she’s sad, red Tully, who helps calm her when she’s angry, and orange Hani, who does joyful dances when she’s happy. As Ellie goes through her day, each of the dragons plays their part, acknowledging her feelings and helping her cope with them in the most productive way possible.
The story is illustrated in bright and cheerful colors, and the characters are expressive and charmingly drawn. Each of the dragons is given a bright bubbly train that makes them look even more magical, as if they were followed by a sparkling trail of glitter. Ellie herself is a lovely shade of purple, which accents each of the dragons’ colors nicely. Ellie’s issues are completely relatable – there are very few children who don’t meet their first day of school with a bit of fear or sadness, or don’t get angry when they or a classmate are bullied. The story’s point is made gently, by example, without preaching or lecturing, and the message is sound and useful, especially for children having trouble moderating their emotions in difficult situations. Kids may be encouraged to imagine their own dragons, or their own favorite animals, offering them advice in similar situations, teaching them to talk themselves through emotional difficulties – a vitally important lesson for all ages. The font in which the book is written is playful and attractive, but might be more difficult for kids who are just mastering reading or kids with learning disabilities, especially on those pages where it’s placed directly against the illustrated background, since it is rather small. Still, that’s a minor quibble, as kids can generally ask an adult for help, and the paper version may well be easier to read than the digital version being reviewed here.
ELLIE AND HER EMOTIONAL DRAGONS: Ellie’s First Day of School is a cute and colorful book that offers children a creative way to handle their emotions, both pleasant and uncomfortable.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader