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Ella Sarah Gets Dressed Hardcover – May 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Series: Caldecott Honor Book
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152164138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152164133
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #257,531 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-K-In typical toddler fashion, Ella Sarah has her own ideas about what she should wear and persists in her choices despite her family's suggestions. "Her father said, `That outfit is too fancy. Why don't you wear your yellow T-shirt with white shorts, and your tennis shoes?'" Ella Sarah replies with what becomes her refrain. "I want to wear my pink polka-dot pants, my dress with orange-and-green flowers, my purple-and-blue striped socks, my yellow shoes, and my red hat!" At the end, her equally "well-dressed" friends arrive for a tea party. The larger-than-life family members tower over Ella Sarah, with only their torsos and legs showing. The exuberant illustrations, "created using a variety of printmaking techniques," dance and tumble across the pages, adding emotion to her refrain. The vibrant yellows, oranges, pinks, and purples work together surprisingly well-Ella Sarah doesn't look as shocking as one would imagine. This should be a hit at storytime or for one-on-one sharing.
Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* PreS. Young Ella Sarah is a kid with flair, and she has a special outfit in mind: "my pink polka-dot pants, my dress with orange-and-green flowers, my purple-and-blue striped socks, my yellow shoes, and my red hat." Mom, Dad, and Big Sister offer alternate ensembles, complaining that Ella Sarah's outfit is "too dressy" and "too silly," but Ella Sarah insists on her own choice and finally manages to pull everything on. Then the doorbell rings. In walks a crowd of Ella Sarah's young friends, dressed in equally flamboyant clothes, and the glamorous kids enjoy a tea party. With minimal words and her signature art marked by bright, bold prints, Chodos-Irvine perfectly captures a universal childhood struggle. Preschoolers will enjoy chanting along with Ella Sarah's often repeated list of clothing, and the illustrations create strong mood and movement with just a few opaque shapes, beautifully conveying Ella Sarah's gestures, from pre-tantrum stuffed-animal tosses to the wrestling war of getting dressed to her smug tea pouring at the story's end. Young children will easily see themselves in Ella Sarah's fierce defiance, and they'll delight in her gleefully bold fashion statement. A perfect read-aloud for the dress-up crowd. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

My daughter (2 years old) really loves this book.
C. Mann
Ella Sarah Gets Dressed is a cute story that also provides an important lesson for both parents and children.
Armchair Interviews
This brightly bold picture book reflects the personality of the protagonist.
Julie Jordan Scott

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Turquoise Skunk on October 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The reviewers who complained about why this book won the Caldecott Medal may not be aware that the Caldecott is given for the illustrations. Certainly, the outstanding illustrations in this book qualify it for the medal, even if the story isn't the most original. I love the colorful printmaking and the accurate depiction of a toddler's behavior. Not all books have to teach a moral lesson.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Teresa H. on November 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I adore Ella Sarah. Other reviewers are right that Ella Sarah does throw a mild tantrum in the book. I personally think it's a great tool for teaching toddlers. Ella Sarah clearly expresses what she wants (a list my 2-year-old daughter knows by heart), and when she is not supported in her wishes by her family members, she goes ahead and dresses herself. I personally think it's a lot better when a toddler can list off exactly what she wants to wear, rather than throw a incomprehensible fit. I adore Ella Sarah (and my daughter does too), because she is an independent, communicative and creative little girl!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Barbara H. Nigra on July 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My grandaughter has had color preference since birth. This book is among the "bed books" when she sleeps at MeMas'. Ella knows what she likes and sticks to her guns. The rest of the family has a different opinion - but honor hers. Ellas friends "get it too". Toddler validation. Who can argue?
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Julie Jordan Scott on March 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ella Sarah is a young woman with a mind of her own... a very young woman with a mind of her own.
This brightly bold picture book reflects the personality of the protagonist. Everyone else gives her "their wisdom" and seems to forget Ella Sarah has a vision all her own.
At the end, Ella Sarah follows her heart and wears exactly what she wanted to all along.... and then her friends who know and cherish her exactly as she is arrive and.... well, its a loving, bright and bold ending as well.
Your children will love this, especially those who are bold, bright little ones who have their own strong fashion opinions.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
To the bafflement of most of the knowledgeable children's literature world, "Ella Sarah Gets Dressed" garnered itself the prestigious and highly sought after Caldecott Honor Award in early 2004. It beat such potential contenders as Peter Sis's, "Tree of Life" and Gerald McDermott's, "Creation", both far worthier (in my humble opionion) winners. This isn't to say that the book is bad. As a charming tale about a stubborn toddler and her intense desire to wear the clothing of her own choice, the book is sweet and good-natured. Just the same, I was amazed by its reception.

As far as the plot goes, it's fairly basic. Ella Sarah plods around the house in her sheep pajamas, a floppity stuffed animal (with the nose and mouth of a martini glass) accompanying her wherever she goes. Right from the start, our heroine knows exactly what kind of clothing she would like to wear. Says she, "I want to wear my pink polka-dot pants, my dress with orange-and-green flowers, my purple-and-blue striped socks, my yellow shoes, and my red hat". Her mother complains that the outfit is too dressy. She suggests an alternative, which is met with Ella Sarah's reiterated desire. Her father says it's too fancy and she repeats her outfit (this time accompanied by a very realistic tantrumesque stamping on the floor). Her older sister says it's too silly and offers some clothes she's outgrown. Now the stuffed animal goes flying, as Ella Sarah proclaims her perfect outfit for the last time. Carefully she dresses herself in the colorful eclectic ensemble. When the doorbell rings we see that her friends are just as snazzy as our intrepid heroine. And with that, the four friends sit down to tea and donut holes. It is a colorful sight.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on October 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Ella Sarah is a little girl, probably about three or four years old, who definitely has her own sense of style. One day she decides she wants to wear pink polka dot pants, a dress with orange and green flowers, purple and blue striped socks, yellow shoes and a red hat-all at the same time.

Her mom, dad and older sister each try to get her to wear clothes that match, but Ella Sarah stands her ground. She dresses herself and is proud of the outfit she has assembled. Later, when her friends come over to play, each of them is attired in his or her own less-than-perfectly matched ensembles.

Parents who insist their children wear clothes that match should avoid letting their children read this book. Open-minded and nurturing parents, however, will enjoy sharing this fun story with their children. The brightly colored pictures are visually stimulating and will keep young children interested. They will also learn about colors and naming the different articles of clothing.

This book fosters decision-making skills and independence. Letting children express their individuality early in life will help them learn more about who they are as a person. In the long run, they will be better able to make important decisions as they grow up instead of being totally dependent on others.

Ella Sarah Gets Dressed is a cute story that also provides an important lesson for both parents and children.

Armchair Interviews says: The early life of a fashionista!
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