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3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  506 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
A story of the American Revolution from two-time Newbery Honor–winning author Patricia Reilly Giff.
While staying with her aunt, Elizabeth finds something remarkable: a drawing. It hangs on the wall, a portrait of her ancestor, Eliza, known as Zee. She looks like Elizabeth.
The girls’ lives intertwine as Elizabeth’s present-day story alternates with Zee’s, which takes place
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published September 10th 2010)
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Oct 15, 2010 Shelley rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. This just didn't work for me. All of Zee's chapters (set during the Revolutionary War) are in italics and that makes me think that her story isn't worth reading, that it's not the main plot. Except when I actually concentrated on reading and not skimming those parts, I realized that it was far more interesting than Elizabeth's story now. But everyone felt very flat and there was little emotional connection shown, which made the characters' changing feels lack depth or logic.

It did ma
Karla Hutchinson
Feb 20, 2015 Karla Hutchinson rated it really liked it
Shelves: 3-5-literature
Storyteller, is a beautifully written historical fiction young readers' novel. I loved reading the story and getting to know Elizabeth and Zee. The story starts with Elizabeth and how she must go stay with her mother's sister for a few weeks because her father must go away on a business trip. At her aunt's house she gets to hear stories of a girl in a painting who is undoubtedly one of her ancestors. We get to read the intertwined stories of these two girls, and even as an adult I teared up and ...more
Seobin  Baeg
Jul 01, 2017 Seobin Baeg rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matt Guion
Mar 20, 2012 Matt Guion rated it liked it
Genre: Children’s historical fiction, coming-of-age

Synopsis: Elizabeth, forgetful and clumsy, lives alone with her father in the twenty-first century, until he sends her to live with her Aunt Libby while he goes off to Australia on business. While adjusting to a new life, a new school, and a relative she barely knows, she comes across a drawing of a distant relative named Eliza, but called Zee, who lived in the eighteenth century during the American Revolution. During her visit, Elizabeth learn
Apr 27, 2011 Josiah rated it it was ok
History becomes very real for Elizabeth in the pages of Storyteller, as a trip to stay with her Aunt Libby brings her into a close connection with an adventurous family past that she didn't even know had ever occurred.

Author Patricia Reilly Giff relates the stories of Elizabeth and of her Revolutionary War era ancestor, Zee, in chapters that alternate (for the most part) between the twenty-first and eighteenth centuries. It's easy to tell which is which, even at first glance; not only is the w
Margo Tanenbaum
Patricia Reilly Giff's newest release, Storyteller, tells the stories of two girls, Elizabeth and Zee, distantly related to each other across more than 200 years. When Elizabeth's father leaves for Australia, she is sent to live with her Aunt Libby, her mother's sister, whom she barely knows. At her house she discovers an intriguing old framed portrait of a distant relative named Eliza, known as Zee, who looks almost exactly like her. She is immediately drawn to the picture, thinking how strange ...more
Olivia Hope
Sep 08, 2014 Olivia Hope rated it really liked it
I am reading Storyteller by Patricia Reilly Giff, it is an inspiring story about a girl named Elizabeth, her mom died and she lives with her dad, she lives in the 21st century. There is another part in the book about a girl named Zee who is like Elizabeth's long lost twin in the eighteenth century. They both have similar story's with losing their mother and having their dad leave for a while but for different reasons. When Elizabeth's dad leaves to go sell artwork, he leaves her with her aunt sh ...more
lizabeth, a 21st century girl, is sent to live with her Aunt Libby she's never met when her father has to leave the country for business. Elizabeth is upset at being left with a stranger and having to change schools but she and her Aunt Libby begin to bond when Elizabeth notices an old drawing of an ancestor who looked just like her. Elizabeth begins to feel a kinship with the other Elizabeth (called Zee) and Elizabeth's quest to know Zee's story helps her bond with her mother's family and find ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I'd really like to give this book 3 1/2 stars, or 3 for the part that takes place in the 20th century, and 4 for the part that takes place in the 18th century. The story shifts between Elizabeth in the 20th century, and her ancestor Zee in the 18th century, during the American Revolution. Elizabeth and Zee not only look alike (according to an old drawing of Zee), but are similar in personality. While in the 20th century Elizabeth discovers a side of her family she never knew, Zee loses family in ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

When Elizabeth's father tells her he will be traveling to Australia to sell his wood carvings, she thinks it means she'll have to stay with Mrs. Eldridge and endure her overweight bulldog and his bad breath. She's in for a surprise. Father says Elizabeth will be staying with her Aunt Libby, her mother's sister.

Staying with Libby means living with someone she doesn't even know and going to a new school where she doesn't have any frie
Reading Vacation
Mar 09, 2011 Reading Vacation rated it it was amazing

Storyteller presents historical fiction in a new way. There are both a historical and a modern story being told. The historical story centers on Eliza (aka Zee), who lived in the time of the American Revolution. The modern story is about Elizabeth, who is sent to live with her Aunt Libby when her own father travels overseas for work.

I liked that each girl gets to tell her point-of-view in alternating chapters. Patricia Reilly Giff has a way of making her characters jump out of the scene a
Elizabeth is a young girl sent to live temporarily with a maternal aunt she has never met before. While struggling to adjust to her new situation, Elizabeth finds herself drawn to a painting in her aunt's house of Zee -- a relative who lived during the time of the American Revolution and who bears a striking resemblance to Elizabeth. In alternate chapters, the reader hears Zee's first person account of the war's effect on her and her family -- with a particular focus on an interesting but little ...more
Dec 04, 2010 Emily rated it really liked it
The Storyteller had a very sweet ending; the only problem was that it never got to be one of those books where I want to keep reading. I always found myself drifting off into my own thoughts as opposed to reading it. I like how it was from Elizabeth and her ancestor’s point of view; that made it really intriguing. I thought it was really good but the plot was weak. There was something else that needed to be added to the story to make it whole.
I thought it was cute how Elizabeth and her aunt Li
Jan 07, 2011 M. rated it really liked it
When her widowed father has to go to Australia for business, Elizabeth is sent to stay with her deceased mother's sister, a woman she's never met. She has to go to a new school in a town she's never been to before. She doesn't want to go. Aunt Libby is nervous about her houseguest--she's single and has never had children, but she welcomes Elizabeth as best she can.

Aunt Libby has an old portrait of an ancestress--Zee, a girl who lived during the Revolutionary War--and Zee looks just like Elizabet
Apr 13, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
Reviewed for

Beautiful and engaging, Storyteller is another excellent novel from two-time Newbery Honor-winner Patricia Reilly Giff. Modern-day Elizabeth is likable and relatable, especially in her struggle to fit in. Zee's life as a young girl in colonial America was fascinating. Through Zee's eyes, the book also sheds light on a lesser known battle of the Revolutionary War and discusses it in a realistic, yet age-appropriate way. I was both surprised and thrilled with
Jan 23, 2012 Kgmedia rated it really liked it
A story of the American Revolution from two-time Newbery Honor–winning author Patricia Reilly Giff.

While staying with her aunt, Elizabeth finds something remarkable: a drawing. It hangs on the wall, a portrait of her ancestor, Eliza, known as Zee. She looks like Elizabeth.
The girls’ lives intertwine as Elizabeth’s present-day story alternates with Zee’s, which takes place during the American Revolution. Zee is dreamy, and hopeful for the future—until the Revolution tears apart her family and her
Kristin Jacobsen
Aug 24, 2015 Kristin Jacobsen rated it really liked it
The book Storyteller by Patrica Reilly Giff was really entertaining. I really like how the author made every other chapter from the past. The other made the book very suspenseful and mysterious. I dislike how the book was in third person. It would have been more interesting if it were in first person.

Elizebeth and her father were the only two people who lived in the house. Her mother had passed away in a car accident a few years ago. Elizebeth's father was trying to figure out how to tell her h
Oct 04, 2012 Cheryl rated it liked it
My middle-school aged daughter and I enjoyed this story. It was neat to flip back and forth between modern day Elizabeth and Revolutionary War Zee's perspectives. I love hearing the stories that my grandparents told and finding out interesting facts about my ancestors.

The only complaints I might have is that the book felt very short and the strained relationship between the modern day aunt and uncle felt forced. Also, if the uncle loved history and especially the history of Zee, then why did he
Recommended Ages: grades 4-7

While staying with her aunt, Elizabeth finds something remarkable: a drawing. It hangs on the wall, a portrait of her ancestor, Eliza, known as Zee. She looks like Elizabeth.
The girls’ lives intertwine as Elizabeth’s present-day story alternates with Zee’s, which takes place during the American Revolution. Zee is dreamy, and hopeful for the future—until the Revolution tears apart her family and her community in upstate New York. Left on her own, she struggles to survi
Sep 27, 2010 Phoebe rated it it was ok
Elizabeth's father must go to Australia unexpectedly, so he takes her to live with her aunt Libby. Shy, awkward, clumsy Elizabeth is strangely drawn to a sketch of Zee, a girl about her own age, and her ancestor. Giff tells Zee's story in alternating segments with Elizabeth's, and she does a pretty good job with Zee and her terrible experiences during the Revolutionary War. I was less interested in Elizabeth and was surprised that such a veteran author as Giff would people her story with such fl ...more
Jan 26, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it
When Elizabeth goes to stay with her aunt and learn about her mother's side of the family, she finds herself drawn to a portrait of her ancestress Zee (short for Eliza), who lived during the American Revolution. Alternating chapters tell the story of Elizabeth's quest to learn about Zee and about Zee's adventures during the Revolution, where she travels to join her father and brother and observes a bloody battle. As the title indicates, the power of stories is an important part of this tale. Zee ...more
Mr. Steve
OK, so this book has a boring title and a rather boring cover. And it starts off kind of boring too, I think. That is all a shame because it turns into a pretty good book. The story alternates between Elizabeth, a girl in the 21st century whose story is told 3rd person, and Zee, a girl in the 18th Century whose story is told first person. The stories are somewhat intertwined and it turns out that Zee's story, which is during the Revolutionary War, is very interesting and has a definite appeal to ...more
Sep 25, 2010 Tricia rated it liked it
Elizabeth learns more of her family history when she is sent to live with a relative during her father's trip to Australia. Zee, an ancestor who lived during the American Revolution, experienced similiar losses and displayed common characteristics (including an uncanny resemblance) to Elizabeth. The book is structured as two stories that intertwine--one about Elizabeth and the other about Zee. Enjoyable read...although I was left empty for more details of Zee's life both during and after the war ...more
Veronica Hunder
Oct 08, 2012 Veronica Hunder rated it really liked it
I liked this book. The ending was very happy and good. Storyteller is also a different kind of book , Elizabeth who lives in the eighteenth century is told in third person and zee who is in the seventeenth century and is italicized and is told in first person. there is lots of suspense in this book too. When you meet zee she is this useless girl and at the end she changes in spectacular way. Story teller is an amazing book with many different adventures and stories. This is an amazing book you s ...more
Lisa the Librarian
Feb 13, 2012 Lisa the Librarian rated it liked it
The connecting of two stories from two different periods of time was a great idea.

I liked both of the protagonists, connected, but born over 200 years apart. There were also a lot of nice parallels without being too cheesy and obvious.

One thing that, for me, really detracted was the contemporary character narrating in present tense. I can understand why the author chose this method, as it reinforced the difference in the two time periods. However, I find present tense narration very distracting
Jul 09, 2011 Patti rated it it was ok
This book was a little too simple for my tastes, but it is written for children. However, I found her other books for this age group a lot more well-developed. I think this felt under-developed because it switched back and forth between two girls, in two centuries who each had their own stories, although the modern girl was trying to discover about her ancestor from the past. I would have liked to see each character's story a little more developed because they were both very interesting, just to ...more
Nov 13, 2010 Jenn rated it really liked it
I picked up this book as I was looking for a back-and-forth chapter point of view book. What I got was not such a book, but something that was equally delightful. This book tells the tale of two girls, related by blood, similar in quirks but separated by centuries. One faces the American Revolution while the other faces "normal 20th century teenage life" with its struggles. The later, Elizabeth, learns much from the former, Zee, and takes this to find her place in the world. A well written, feel ...more
Great teachers (and great authors) remind us that history is the story of people throughout time.

When Elizabeth visits her deceased mother's sister, she finds a connection to a girl like herself through an old family drawing.

Zee, growing up during the tumultous days of the American Revolution, struggles to survive and overcome painful losses.

Told in alternating narration between Zee and Elizabeth, Storyteller weaves realistic and historical fiction elements into a unique family story.
Oct 30, 2012 Georgene rated it liked it
I liked the historical aspect of this story and the parts that take place at the beginning of the American Revolution, but the modern day character of Elizabeth going to live with her aunt while her father is in Australia seemed a little contrived. Why would Elizabeth's father have her spend a long period of time with an aunt she hardly knows, especially an aunt with no experience with children. And why is Elizabeth depicted as clumsy? Anyway, I don't think this is one of Patricia Reilly Giff's ...more
Jan Carlson
Jan 16, 2016 Jan Carlson rated it liked it
This is a good book but not Patricia Reilly Giff's best. I like that it connected the present with the past by using two narrators, one from the 18th century and one from the 1st. The two young girls are related and similar in personality. Elizabeth, who lives in the 21st century, uncovers the story of Zee, who lived during the American Revolution. Historical fiction fans should like this book.
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PATRICIA REILLY GIFF is the author of many beloved books for children, including the Kids of the Polk Street School books, the Friends and Amigos books, and the Polka Dot Private Eye books. Several of her novels for older readers have been chosen as ALA-ALSC Notable Books and ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. They include The Gift of the Pirate Queen; All the Way Home; Water Street; Nory Ryan ...more
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