Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Is That You, Eleanor Sue? Written and illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2018. $23.50 ages 4 and up
doughnuts to the queen of
a small island faraway across
the sea. After that, a box of
blue marbles to a centaur who
lives deep in a forest under a
large pile of leaves. I wore
my shoes right through, ma'am.
I've traveled that far.
Eleanor Sue's mother prepared
a footbath of warm water, soap
Oh, what a lovely and inventive tale this is. Eleanor Sue is one blessed little girl. She has a marvelous imagination and a patient, willing mother. That mother is fully involved in every bit of fun her little one can dream up.
Eleanor Sue has a bedroom filled with perfect pickings for a girl who loves to play dress-up - a shelf full of bonnets and hats, a long line of shoes of all types, a trunk just begging to be opened and a wardrobe to store everything else she might need. Our first glimpse of her favorite Saturday past time shows her in a green dress with shoes to match, and all of the accoutrements needed to create a puffy bouffant hairstyle. Eleanor Sue is pretty impressed with herself.
Out the window she goes and straight to the front door where she is welcomed by her mother. She introduces herself as the new neighbor, with gift in hand. Invited in for tea, she regales her mother with a humorous answer to an innocent question about settling into the neighborhood.
"Eleanor Sue responds with a sniff, "Well, it's okay. The sun
shines right into my windows so I must wear sunglasses while I
nap, and the birds sing so loudly down the chimney that I wear
cotton in my ears, and I skinned my knee getting out of the
bathtub, and my eyebrows hurt."
Offering thanks for the visit, Mom ushers her guest out the door. A while later, a witch appears there, and so their day goes. Eleanor Sue visits in a variety of costumes, her mother provides welcome, patience, interest and encouragement. Each visit provides a clue to the next guest. At last, the neighbor's lost cat arrives and sets Mom on a hilarious attempt to catch her daughter at her own game. Eleanor Sue will not be thwarted.
When the cat is sent home and the door is closed, Mom turns the tables. Eleanor Sue changes one last time, and must then answer the doorbell when no one else is there to do it. Imagine her surprise when her dressed-alike mother greets her! The final spread is just perfect - as is the whole story!
Creative, full of love and joy, I look forward to reading it to others. It is bound for my 'keepers' shelf to be read to Sicily and Chelsea when they next visit.