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Monday, September 7, 2015

Ellie, written and illustrated by Mike Wu. Disney Hyperion, Hachette. 2015. $17.99 ages 3 and up

"Ellie thought she'd ask
Walt to give her a job,
but he was busy, too.
When the monkeys called
him away, Ellie picked up
the strange object he'd been
holding ... "

It's a chilling announcement for the animals living in the zoo - their home is soon to close. What can the animals do? Gerard the gorilla always has good ideas. The first one being that they should clean it up, and make it more appealing to visit. The animals get right to work. Poor Ellie - she's too short, too weak, too slow. Ellie has no talent that she can use to help.

Or, so she thinks. Watching Walt the zookeeper paint gives her incentive to try again. Walt returns to find that Ellie has a very special talent. Off he goes, returning with supplies to keep her busy and very pleased with herself. She paints the walls, her friends, and gains notoriety for her endeavors.

It isn't long until many people are back visiting the zoo. Ellie is the main attraction, her friends the guides at the zoo and her creative work the reason for the zoo's resurgence as a popular destination. Bravo, Ellie!

Mike Wu's illustration are as charming as his story. He's a Pixar animator who cleverly shows his ability to create characters who will win hearts and make this a favorite book to read for years to come. Ellie is a reminder that we all have a place in the world, and something to give. We can all make a difference!

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