Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Ella

Peet, Bill (Author/Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 1992. 48 pages
First published: 1964
ISBN: 9780395272695 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Strong rhyming cadences convey this morality tale about an elephant who doesn’t appreciate the fine life she’s got. This somewhat dense and lengthy story uses rich vocabulary to conjure drama and emotion. “The winter arrived with a howl and a shriek,/Leaving the countryside snowy and bleak.”

Sweet and expressive illustrations are created with fluid pen line and loosely rendered coloured pencil markings. In one spread, Ella thunders after the departing circus train, trunk waving, eyes bugging. Blackened engine smoke billows across the image, reflecting Ella’s troubled state of mind. Another shows Ella’s concern, as she rakes fallen leaves and watches birds fly south. There is ample opportunity to discuss appropriate habitats for elephants, the lives of working animals and animal rights. “The summer passed by with Ella still there./She was chilled by the first touch of frost in the air.”

Ella’s year of indentured servitude to a harsh farmer teaches a valuable lesson—the satisfaction of being a hard-working member of your chosen community. “For all of her friends in the circus had missed her./One clown was so happy he ran up and kissed her.”

  •  

    Discuss the book cover and make predictions about Ella’s story. Go for a picture walk and revise those predictions in light of the illustrations. As the story is read aloud, compare the text with your predictions.

  •  Use a timeline to describe the story.
  •  

    Create three character maps for Ella: when she is at the circus, when she is with Lucifer Kirk and when she returns to the circus. Discuss how she changes through her experiences.

  •  

    Does Ella’s story remind you of an experience you have had, a story or film that you have seen, or an event? Write about the connections that come to mind and how you can learn from them.

  •  

    Discuss the book cover and make predictions about Ella’s story. Go for a picture walk and revise those predictions in light of the illustrations. As the story is read aloud, compare the text with your predictions.

  •  Use a timeline to describe the story.
  •  

    Create three character maps for Ella when she is at the circus, when she is with Lucifer Kirk and when she returns to the circus. Discuss how she changes through her experiences.

  •  

    Discuss how Ella’s character traits can be appreciated, or not, in families, schools and society in general. In your reading log and in the same style, write about a humbling event, either yours or one of which you are aware.

  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being