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Ellen Tebbits
Beverly Cleary
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Ellen Tebbits (Ellen & Otis #1)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  4,715 ratings  ·  160 reviews

Ellen was eight years old and wore bands on her teeth. Her best friend had just moved away and she missed her. Still, as she walked to the Spofford School of the Dance one Saturday, she was almost glad she had no best friend. Best friends do not have secrets from each other, and Ellen had a secret she did not want to share with anyone. But by the time the dancing lesson wa

Published (first published 1951)
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Mar 12, 2014 Irene rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Elementary-school aged kids
Shelves: children
I have clear memories of reading this book as a child! But interestingly, reading it as an adult, it mostly just struck me as old-fashioned. Even though it's set in about the same time period as the Ramona and Henry Huggins books, it just seemed out of date, while the Ramona and Henry Huggins series seem timeless.

Many of the anecdotes take place within classrooms, and I was so surprised to find myself feeling that the classroom dynamics were inappropriate, even though they reminded me of just w
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Ellen Tebbits is the antithesis of Ramona Quimby at the same age. She and her nemesis, Otis Spofford (where did Cleary get these names?) attend a different school in the same town, but their lives couldn't be more different. The Quimbys and the Hugginses are clearly working-class folks who live on an economic knife's edge, while Ellen lives in a big old house full of nice things, with a perfectionist mom who cares more about her "nice clean floor" than about teaching her daughter cooking skills. ...more
Beverly Cleary is well-known for writing humorous and touching realistic chapter books. Her realistic and sympathetic characters have been indelibly written on many hearts. One of my favorite character creations of hers is Ellen Tebbits, an eight-year-old girl whose life is brightened by her friendship with newcomer Austine. The book Ellen Tebbits forever shaped my life.

Partly because of Ellen, during much of my childhood, I wanted a best friend. I identified with Ellen, who does not have any br
This book was written about 20 years earlier than most of the Ramona books, and it shows. Ellen's mother makes all her clothes for her and worries about her clean floor. (I'm not even sure I *have* a clean floor - or, some days, a floor at all!) The girls wear only dresses to school (and most everyplace else). Otis has a full cowboy outfit (with spurs) and we're told that MOST of the children in the school have a cowboy hat, or even a neckerchief. (When's the last time you saw that sort of cowbo ...more
Melissa Morton
The only reason I give this book two stars instead of one is because I think Ellen Tebbits is a fun read for children, but the storyline seems a bit pointless.

Ellen meets Austine, a new girl from California, at ballet class one day. The two girls become the best of friends right away; they were inseparable. A quarrel breaks out between Ellen and Austine one day at school, and they stop being friends. But, to their dismay, the fight was just a misunderstanding and they become friends once again.
I loved Beverly Cleary books growing up and read many of them but I do not recall having ever read Ellen Tebbits.
The kids and I had so much fun reading this together. We laughed, we groaned at the antics of Otis Spofford, we sat on the edge of our seats wondering if Ellen and Austine would make up and be best friends again. Best of all my kids learned the chant "I see London, I see France..." and have been having a grand time with it.
Julie Decker
Ellen's got secrets, and they seem less embarrassing when she shares them with another girl who's hiding the same thing! (Okay, it's about woolen underwear. You find out in chapter one.) Ellen is a dancer whose everyday life and friendships are the subject of this book, and even though there's nothing incredibly exciting about what this ordinary girl faces, it's also undeniably comfortable and familiar to watch her tackle friendship hiccups and secret passions. I love that Beverly Cleary does su ...more
David Redden
Sam (10 yrs): I liked dee ending, dats it. [Dad: come on, Sam, what did you like?] Ummmmmmmmm...I liked the part where they clap erasers. I liked where they became friends again and they were all happy and stuffs.

Mary (8 years): I gave it 5 stars because I thought it was funny and I thought it was um really interesting and exciting, and that's really all I can say. There's not much to say for this book. [Dad: have you ever felt like Ellen? She worries a lot, doesn't she?] Um, yeah, sometimes I
Jacquelyn Hoogendyk
Best friends Ellen and Austine meet at ballet class one day and immediately become best friends. Ellen finds herself sharing secrets with Austine that she never thought she would share with anyone. One day, a misunderstanding leads to them not being friends for a while, but after talking they become friends again. Ellen Tibbets is a book that can teach a lesson in friendship to all younger students. Ellen and Austine get into a fight that temporarily ends their friendship after Ellen makes assum ...more
Hahaha, I remember reading this book as a kid and loving every chapter! This book is a real classic about friendship, grudges and forgiveness.

The characters are so real in this story you'd think they'd exist in real life. Ellen was always my favorite character, I loved how funny she was without trying to be! And Otis? He was... sooo annoying. He's like a typical annoying boy in school who THINKS he's being funny. But I liked him for that reason! 8P

The most memorable scene for me was the dance pr
Beverly Cleary is a god that brought her books to earth. One of the best books ever. Its not so bad reading after all.
5 yrs - maybe a bit out of date and not quite as good as her other books but we still enjoyed reading this novel. Because O hasn't experienced classroom injustice and fall outs with friends there were times when we'd finish a chapter and she wouldn't want to read the book again. She wouldn't say why but I suspect it's because there was something negative going on that made her uncomfortable (I've seen this when reading other novels). All in all I think it's a nice harmless way of being exposed t ...more
Elizabeth Lund
cute, authentic; typically excellent Cleary
Isabelle Sanchez
In the book Ellen Tebbits, Ellen is the main character. Her best friend had moved away to another country. But Ellen wasn't alone for long, she had met a NEW best friend, who she hanged out with all the time. After these girls were too bored of being together, they started quarreling with each other. Her friend had ripped her new stash because her friend thought that is was really cheap. SO then, the next day when Ellen and her friend had to clean the chalk board erasers, Ellen smacked her frien ...more

Continuing my reading of Beverly Cleary's books as research on the 1950s, I read her second novel for middle-grade readers. Ellen Tebbits is a third grader with two main problems in life. She needs a best friend and she wants her teacher to like her so she can get picked to clap the erasers. Interesting to me because those were my main problems in third grade. She also has an over-protective mother who is a neat freak.

The story opens with a chapter about ballet class. Ellen has been made to wear
Another childhood favorite that I reread and again, to my relief, it held up. My most vivid memory of this book is the first story about the woolen underwear in ballet class. And how she meets Austine who seems so loyal and indominable. Which of course makes the heartbreak of the fight and estrangement later in the book all the more wrenching. Ms. Cleary is just so amazing in her ability to understand a 3rd grader and how they think and how they behave. Otis Spofford is so very accurately annoyi ...more
This is an old favorite, and I pulled it from the shelf because I was too lazy to go downstairs and get a newer book. I read half of it while I was drying my hair.

Ellen Tebbits is an average girl living an average life in an average town. She's in third grade as the book starts, missing her best friend, who's just moved away. She bonds with Austine, the new girl, over their despised union suits (which my adolescent mind always translated as "onion" suits, which just doesn't make any sense) that
As much as I've always enjoyed reading about Ramona, I disliked Ellen. It may be because of Ellen and Austine's quarrel. It may be simply because for most of the book, everything seems to be against Ellen. Or it may be because Ellen's misfortunes sound painfully similar to my own socially awkward childhood. Whatever the reason, I can't give this book more than two stars--although it's not so horrid as to deserve only one.
liked it, but it was dated, and i don't think it really stands out as a super fun exciting read in 2014. does a good job of covering general 3rd grade girl issues though, and read more like a novel than Cleary's first book, Henry Huggins. This is her second book - trying to go through them in chronological order, we'll see how fast I get bored with that. on the upside, I read this during a single visit to the gym
What will I do when I run out of Beverly Cleary books to read when I have jangled nerves and insomnia? Well, I guess I'll have to start all over again with Ramona the Pest, my all-time favorite. I somehow never read Ellen Tebbits and it's lovely. Especially loved her unbreakable bond with her best friend Austine, that they both had to wear woolen underwear, and her nemesis, Otis Spofford.
Ellen and Austine's friendship reminds me of the struggles many of my peers and I faced when as Elementary school children. This book is charming, funny, and explores the dynamics of friends, how the ups and downs are worth it when you've found true friendship. This book has been passed down from my Mom to me and I hope to pass it on to another little girl.
i sorda like ellen tebbits. i like it because it is funny and makes me laugh also because of otis. i do not like it because of the fight that ellen has with Austine because they seem so happy and then they get all upset about nothing! and i do not like the part about the houses because i do not always like dramatic stuff like that.
This book gets a 4.49. It was one of my favorite books as a kid, and one of my favorite Beverly Cleary books, which really says a lot. I recently got in the mood again for Cleary, and it was a nice and comforting feeling realizing that this book is just as good as it ever was. I always loved the main character Ellen and loved the situations she got into, loved how she thought b/c it was so real. Don't ask me how Cleary was ever able to put herself into the shoes of a third grader so effectively, ...more
I loved Beverly Cleary as a child and this book in particular. It was just as sweet and comforting as I remember. I must say, I found myself liking Otis Spofford much more as an adult than I did as a child.... I found him annoying as Ellen did back then but reading it now, Otis seems like a sweet typical little mischievous boy.
Beverly Cleary showed just how much she understood how a little girl's mind works when she wrote Ellen Tebbits. Kids today probably won't have any idea what woolen underwear are, and so may have difficulty understanding the humor of the ballet class scene when Ellen's woolens are drooping. Between the woolens and the sashes, the clothes may be dated, but Ellen is still a typical little girl with typical little girl feelings and problems.

This is one of those books I probably should have read yea
It's like a trip on the way-back machine to read this book. I read it when I was little, and I know that even then a lot of the stuff they were talking about seemed strange- like girls wearing dresses to school every day, and your mother making your clothes. My oldest daughter is now 8, and in third grade, just like Ellen at the beginning of the book. So we decided to read it together. I looked up this book, and found out it was first published in 1952, making it even older than MY mother. Any w ...more
Sonya Edwards
Written in 1951, modern readers may have difficulty relating to the precise secret that Ellen and Austine share. Cleary's trademark writing style however ensures that they will have no problem relating to the characters and situations. A simple story about the fickleness of elementary friendship, Ellen Tebbits is a wonderful read from a beloved author.
Read to L. I read this as a kid, and misremembered some of the plot as being from a Ramona Quimby book. L enjoyed it a lot.
**slight spoilers ahead but, really, you should have read this by now**

Just finished reading this with a 4th grader in a reading volunteer program, and I was delighted to see that my reading buddy loves Ellen and Austine as much as I do. Cleary makes it so easy to identify with Ellen: good, serious Ellen who wants to know if her teacher likes her, who wants a best friend, and WHO SLAPS HER BEST FRIEND. I love books that deal with guilt (hmmm, wonder why?), and this one covers guilt and just how
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Beverly Cleary (born April 12, 1916) is the author of over 30 books for young adults and children. Her characters are normal children facing challenges that many of us face growing up, and her stories are liberally laced with humour. Some of her best known and loved characters are Ramona Quimby and her sister Beatrice ("Beezus"), Henry Huggins, and Ralph S. Mouse.

Beverly Cleary was born Beverly At
More about Beverly Cleary...

Other Books in the Series

Ellen & Otis (2 books)
  • Otis Spofford (Ellen & Otis, #2)
Beezus and Ramona (Ramona, #1) Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (Ramona, #6) The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Ralph S. Mouse, #1) Ramona the Pest (Ramona, #2) Ramona the Brave (Ramona, #3)

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