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Summary: Ellasense, who fell asleep under a tree, got left behind when the circus train left town. After Ellasense goes on TV with a plea to go home, everyone pitches in to get Ellasense back to the circus. This is an animal adventure story told as a rhyming poem.
Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 6; read yourself: 7 to 9
Interest Level: 5 to 8
Age of Child: Read with 3-year-old child.
Young Reader Reaction: S/He asked lots of questions about the illustrations. We tried about half-a-dozen times to engage our preschooler, but could not garner any interest in the book.
Adult Reader Reaction: The story is sweet enough, but the length of the narrative (even as a rhyme) is a little overwhelming.
Pros: The story has a happy ending, the illustrations are cute, and you can teach your kids about geography and creative problem solving.
Cons: The narrative is a little overwhelming for young readers in the target audience. It is not an easy read-aloud book; you will want to practice a couple of times to get the cadence right.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, unless your child love ANY story about the circus or elephants. You will definitely want to test-drive the book before deciding whether/not to add it to your collection.
Educational Themes: There are several ways to go with this book. With Ellasense being "lost," you can talk about the importance of paying attention to what's happening around you. The town's reaction and efforts to get Ellasense home create opportunities to talk about teamwork.