Ella the Pink Elephant by Doris Rueger
By Zara D. Garcia-Alvarez / @ZaraAlexis
Category: Children’s Paperback
Author: Doris Rueger
Format: Paperback, 36 pages
Publisher: Self-published, Create Space
Pub Date: May 4, 2012
Ella the Pink Elephant: Her Life, and Fame by Doris Rueger is a story about a popular elephant who is made up in pink to attract patrons to a zoo, is taken care of a former clown-turned-zoo-keeper, ages, and then participates in weddings—and then questions herself as to whether or not she is still loved after aging and losing her youthfulness, and “looks.”
Sound complicated? A little. Not only is this children’s book 36 pages long, but each page consists of long, cluttered paragraphs. That’s okay for a novel (if well-written), but not necessarily for a children’s picture book.
It does happen though in other publications, but usually done with purpose and clarity. Unfortunately for this book, the narrative is often long-winded, crammed with unnecessary detail that prevents it from being a clear and enjoyable read. (Not to mention the editorial errors I found in the copy—and no, I did not receive a galley, nor an uncorrected proof, nor an ARC.)
And the illustrations, too, aren’t much better where a lot of the drawings in crayon and/or pencil crayon are not successful in giving the book an overall pleasurable aesthetic. The illustrations are awkward, inconsistent, and well…seemed unprofessional.
In fairness, though, I always weigh in on my children’s responses to the children’s books that I review and read with them. They are, after all, intended for children.
Unfortunately, my three-year-old daughter, Mercedes (like myself), couldn’t sit though a reading. It was too long, too long-winded, and didn’t read smoothly both in language and in context.
My daughter even sighed and actually said to me,
I don’t want to read this book. I don’t like it…
and shut it closed.
And she’s an active, avid, and enthusiastic reader! She loves reading time and if or when she doesn’t comprehend a story in its entirety, she still absorbs and usually enjoys the pictures! She even loves the colour pink!
But in this case, she neither loved the story, nor the illustrations.
While the cover of the book shows a lot of promise, there is a reason why some sayings become popular and well-known quotes… like,
You can’t judge a book by its cover.
In this case, it’s unfortunately true.
Thank you to Create Space for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an unpaid and honest review.
What’s your favourite animal in the zoo?
What animal are you most afraid of?
If you could be an animal based on its characteristics, which animal would you choose to be and why?