Eating up Gladys.jpg

Ella Sets the Stage

Written by Carmela D'Amico

Illustrated by Steven Henry

The school on Elephant Island is holding a talent show, and everyone's excited. Belinda's going to do ballet, Tiki's planned a magic act, and Ella wants to do something too... but what? As the other elephants rush about getting their acts ready, Ella gives advice, lends support, and wonders: Does she herself have any talent at all?

With Ella in the spotlight, readers know that a standing ovation is sure to follow.

Visit Ella the Elephant online at

Reviews and Awards

2006 National Parenting Publications Gold Award
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal

"Another lovely entry about an endearing elephant. Ella is desperately worried about her school’s upcoming talent show. Her shyness and lack of a “special natural ability” seem to preclude her participation. From juggling to singing, she tries various activities with disastrous results. Still, she helps to organize the event and assists her classmates, and, on the big night, her true gift – being a good friend – shines forth. The book’s charming, old-fashioned quality is emphasized by fluid illustrations reminiscent of those in the “Babar” and “Curious George” series.... [C]olor and shadow are masterfully used to emphasize the main action in each scene while providing a richly detailed background. The story is driven by short bursts of dialogue, and key points are highlighted by moments of introspection. While primary-grade children will best sympathize with Ella’s frustration and her conflicted feelings about being in the spotlight, younger children who have ever felt left out, inept, or just a little bit different will also find the story appealing." - School Library Journal

"The calm, confident tone of the text is a fine match for the whimsical illustrations that convey Ella's charmingly old-fashioned world on Elephant Island. Though the story has a nostalgic flavor, Ella's concerns are timeless." - Kirkus Reviews

"Ella, the adorable little elephant last seen in Ella Takes the Cake, gets bad news - there's going to be a talent show at her school. Shy, and sure she has no talent, Ella brushes off suggestions that she recite a poem, and her attempts at juggling fail. Ella isn't shy about helping the talent show committee, however, painting signs, making medals and planning the program. On the day of the show, she still doesn't know what she's going to do, but she's soon busy sewing a hole in a dancer's tights and helping a performer's monkey jump from the rafters. Prizes are handed out, but the applause goes to Ella for being "a very special friend."... With artwork that evokes the best of picture-book art of the mid-twentieth century (Bemelmans, Rey, DeBrunhoff), and takes a cozy look at childhood concerns, this is one both kids and parents will enjoy." - Booklist 

Purchase Options
Indiebound • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Fall 2006
Picture Book
ISBN: 0-439-83152-0
Price: $16.99/$21.99
Trim Size: 8" x 10"
Page Count: 48
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes

Also see: