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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ella's Umbrellas, written by Jennifer Lloyd and illustrated by Ashley Spires. Simply Read Books, 2010. $18.95 ages 4 and up

"Ella had big umbrellas and small umbrellas.
She had umbrellas in pink, turquoise and tangerine.
She had them in every color, even jellybean green.

Several were striped and a few speckled with spots.
A sprinkling had sparkles. A handful had hearts.
Some opened slowly and plenty went POP!"

While I was reading this book, I made a connection to The Umbrella Party (Groundwood, 1998). So, I hustled downstairs and took it off the shelf to read it again. I still love it!

Ella loves umbrellas and eveybody knows it. No matter the occasion, the gift of choice is another umbrella and now, she has too many. She has a favorite. It is robin's egg blue and came from her Aunt Stella who lives far, far away. Stella is on her way for a visit and she is going to stay in Ella's room. What excitement for the young girl!

Ella's mother is not her calm and contented self today, and Ella tries to help. She moves her umbrellas from an old spot to a new one, but her mom still complains about them. They are everywhere! She suggests that Ella make gifts of her many umbrellas. And, she means business. Ella piles them on the front lawn, with a tiny sign offering free umbrellas. The postman arrives with postcard in hand and doesn't seem to notice the sign. Imagine!

Her mom comes out to mow the lawn, sees the sign and suggests that Ella find a better way of ridding herself of the many umbrellas. A bigger sign, a wagon ride and a rainstorm brings a solution. As people rush past, she offers them relief from the storm. Almost home, she only has her very favorite one in hand. Along comes the postman, drenched and grumpy. Ella knows what she must do.

Guess what? Aunt Stella is waiting when she finally gets back, and she has a gift for Ella!

Kids will love the warmth and humor that this predictable story evokes. The softly-drawn artwork adds to those feelings, and give context to the problem that must be solved to her mother's satisfaction.

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