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Ellen Tebbits (Ellen & Otis, #1)
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Readalong Archives > Monday, April 11th, 2016: Ellen Tebbits

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message 1: by Brenda (last edited Mar 14, 2016 12:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brenda | 82 comments Ellen Tebbits has a secret that she'll never share with anyone. That is, until she meets Austine—and discovers that Austine has the same secret! Soon the girls are best friends who do everything together—attending dance class, horseback riding, and dodging pesky Otis Spofford. But then Ellen does something terrible, and now Austine isn't speaking to her. Will Ellen be able to prove how sorry she truly is?



Ellen Tebbits was one of my childhood favorite books to read and with Beverly Cleary's birthday coming up it seemed like the perfect time for a re-read.

I hope you'll join in on Monday April 11th for the discussion.


Dichotomy Girl (dichotomygirl) | 49 comments I'll join in. I've read tons of Beverly Cleary, but to the best of my knowledge I've never read this one.


message 3: by Indiana (new) - added it

Indiana | 68 comments I've got my battered 1970s edition on my shelf. It's been a very long time since I read it! It will be fun to revisit this one.


Rosemarie | 261 comments I'll join in too. It will bring back memories to when my daughters read Beverly
Cleary books.


message 5: by Katie , The Lady with Megan-Follows-as-Anne-of-Green-Gables Hair (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katie  (BookishIlluminations) | 171 comments Mod
I'll definitely join the party! Either this will be on the shelf at the school library where I'll read it, or I'll have to order a copy for the collection. I think we might have it though....


message 6: by Wendy Darling, The Lady in a Blue Dress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wendy Darling (wendydarling) | 136 comments Mod
Hooray hooray hooray! I'm so excited that we're reading this. I related so much to Ellen and Austine's friendship. This is one of my favorite parts, with a minor spoiler:



But now I'll stop and save the rest of my enthusiasm for the readalong. :)


message 7: by Liz (new)

Liz | 10 comments I have read this book so many times. Beverly Clearly was my absolute favorite author as a child, and still as an adult. I think I will read this along with my nieces to see how they feel about it as well. I never turn down an opportunity to read her books.


Brenda | 82 comments Liz wrote: "I have read this book so many times. Beverly Clearly was my absolute favorite author as a child, and still as an adult. I think I will read this along with my nieces to see how they feel about it a..." I'm excited to see what you and your nieces think, it will be fun to have both perspectives.


Brenda | 82 comments Indiana wrote: "I've got my battered 1970s edition on my shelf. It's been a very long time since I read it! It will be fun to revisit this one."

I wish I still had my original copy of this one, not sure if my sister took off with it or not.


message 10: by Katie , The Lady with Megan-Follows-as-Anne-of-Green-Gables Hair (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katie  (BookishIlluminations) | 171 comments Mod
I checked out our copy from the school library, but I believe I may still own my childhood edition which would be identical to our school library edition!! Ha!!


message 11: by Wendy Darling, The Lady in a Blue Dress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wendy Darling (wendydarling) | 136 comments Mod
Katie, when I first got disposable income as a teenager/young college student, I went through a period of rebuying all the classics I loved as a kid online. And because I read most of those books from the library, I often chose the battered library edition with all the stamps and such! In fact, my worn old copy of Ellen is one of those, it has a stained interior checkout card and stamped dates and such. I'd probably rebuy the more faded editions I have at some point, but I'm in no hurry.


message 12: by Wendy Darling, The Lady in a Blue Dress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wendy Darling (wendydarling) | 136 comments Mod
PS--I'm going to start reading this next week. :) Very jazzed.


Trisha Smith | 30 comments Yes!! I love well-used books and have found some great ones at used book sales! I started working at the library I grew up at a few months ago and get super excited when I see a copy that I read as a child still in circulation!


Rosemarie | 261 comments I loved used books! I also like library books. I have sometimes found "orphaned" bookmarks in them. Some people only like new books, and then there are ebooks. It's not the same at all. I think books that have been pre-owned and pre-read are the best.


message 15: by Indiana (new) - added it

Indiana | 68 comments The Today Show did a feature on Beverly Cleary last week and had a series of video including an interview with her. Just in case any of you did not see them:
http://www.today.com/parents/99-autho...

There appears to be more videos of the interview in other locations on their website.


Trisha Smith | 30 comments Indiana wrote: "The Today Show did a feature on Beverly Cleary last week and had a series of video including an interview with her. Just in case any of you did not see them:
http://www.today.com/parents/99-author-..."


Thanks for sharing!! I've been seeing things about her all over facebook over the last few days. Wow, 99!!! I have no idea she was that age and still doing great! I love her books when I was younger :)


Catie | 15 comments Just picked up my book from the library. Really looking forward to reading this. One of the few of Cleary's books that I didn't read as a child.

And, I think I'll be looking for a vintage copy of this book. There's something about those older editions that mean so much more to me for some reason.


message 18: by Katie , The Lady with Megan-Follows-as-Anne-of-Green-Gables Hair (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katie  (BookishIlluminations) | 171 comments Mod
Wendy,
I love the fact that you have been buying the used editions, especially with the library stamps--what a wonderful activity!

The battered editions can be the most priceless. Yes, Catie, I agree with you as well about the older editions meaning more.

I'm planning to start reading this week--I just set up a book display outside our library of Beverly Cleary books, gearing up for the big birthday....

Rosemarie, someone somewhere should be doing a research study on "orphaned" bookmarks--it's fascinating!

It is amazing that Beverly Cleary is going to be 100. My grandmother recently passed away at the age of 103--it is truly astounding to me!


message 19: by Katie , The Lady with Megan-Follows-as-Anne-of-Green-Gables Hair (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katie  (BookishIlluminations) | 171 comments Mod
As I am reading Ellen Tebbits, it is interesting because Austine moves to Oregon from California and is in the 3rd grade. My family also moved from California to Oregon when I was in the 3rd and 4th grade and I met my best friend there! :)


Brenda | 82 comments Just got my copy from the library too and am getting ready to start reading. Nervous but excited!


message 21: by Wendy Darling, The Lady in a Blue Dress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wendy Darling (wendydarling) | 136 comments Mod
I started a few days ago and forced myself to put it down after a few chapters, because I would've read the whole thing in one sitting! Eeee.

Thanks for the link, Indiana--I'm so happy to see so much Cleary coverage lately. It's astonishing that she's still alive and feisty as ever.

I've had her two memoirs forever, but I finally finished the first one A Girl from Yamhill after I put ELLEN aside. It's interesting to see how many of her own experiences made it into her books, especially the Ramona ones! I started her second autobiography My Own Two Feet as well, which begins with her leaving home to go to California for awhile, just as Shelley does in The Luckiest Girl.


Brenda | 82 comments Beverly Clearly had a nice feature on Publishers Weekly, I especially like how she talks about what her characters lives would be like now.


Rosemarie | 261 comments I just started reading Ellen Tebbits today. The book was published the same year I was born! I don't ever remember reading any Beverly Cleary books when I was growing up, but my daughters certainly did, but not this one.


Brenda | 82 comments I hope everyone has had a chance to read Ellen Tebbits and is ready for today's discussion. This was a cute and quick read for me. Defiantly a trip down memory lane. Love how it centers on Ellen's desire to have a best friend, someone who she can share her secrets with. I could identify with that feeling. I'm going to be picking up the Ramona series to read soon too.


Dichotomy Girl (dichotomygirl) | 49 comments Brenda wrote: "I hope everyone has had a chance to read Ellen Tebbits and is ready for today's discussion. This was a cute and quick read for me. Defiantly a trip down memory lane. Love how it centers on Ellen's ..."

Whoops! I better get on this, and join the conversation tomorrow!


Brenda | 82 comments Dichotomy Girl wrote: "Brenda wrote: "I hope everyone has had a chance to read Ellen Tebbits and is ready for today's discussion. This was a cute and quick read for me. Defiantly a trip down memory lane. Love how it cent..."

No worries, join in anytime!


Rosemarie | 261 comments I read Ellen Tebbits in one day and could really relate to some of her experiences. With me it wasn't winter underwear, it was an undershirt. I was sure that I was the only nine-year old wearing one. I am German and all German girls wore them, but we were in a small town in Ontario. That was before they were called "camis" and became fashionable.
It stands up to the test of time because the theme of friendship is always important for people of all ages. I am planning to read the book about that annoying boy--Otis Spofford.
The horeseback riding scene brings back memories of the only time I have ridden a horse. We had our graduation from high school at a dude ranch. My horse was slow, which was a good thing, but he stopped in the middle of the creek to heed the call of nature. By then we were way behind the others so he galloped to catch up to get to the barn. That was a very bouncy ride, but I didn't fall off.


Brenda | 82 comments Rosemarie- I have yet to read Otis, but want to read it as well. I hope he's not nearly as annoying :)


message 29: by Wendy Darling, The Lady in a Blue Dress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wendy Darling (wendydarling) | 136 comments Mod
Hah, Otis is still annoying in his standalone book, but you get to see what's going on in his head that makes him act out, at least.

As an adult reading ELLEN, I'm always a little shocked when she goes so far as to slap Austine in that quick, unthinking moment of anger. But the way it was written, you can understand the gradual build-up of tension, and why she finally snapped. I also totally understood and could relate to the feeling of Ellen's not being able to bring herself to apologize after she finds out that Austine wasn't the one who pulled her sash after all, as well as all those half-hopes that something will happen to make it all right!

So funny about the undershirt, Rosemarie--my mother still sometimes tells me to wear a slip, even though most dresses don't need them now, especially here in southern California, where things are much more casual.

That's so fun that you got to go to a dude ranch for graduation! I suppose most little girls like the idea of horses (I know I did, partly because of all the The Black Stallion and Black Beauty books), though I only got to sit on a docile pony that went around in a circle.

I live in a city with some horses, but visited a tiny town this weekend that had a lot more. It made me think of Ellen and Austine's unfortunate ride for sure! And of how kind Austine is, from beginning to end.

As a kid, I also loved the idea of dressing like twins and the monkey dresses. :D The nice fat sash sounded so appealing, too.


Brenda | 82 comments Wendy- now I really need to read Otis. I've always wondered about his intentions when he was imitating Ellen's movements during ballet class.


Rosemarie | 261 comments I loved the Black Stallion books and read as many as I could find at the library.

Beverly Cleary certainly understands how friends can have a falling out. I feel sorry for Ellen because her mother is so obsessed with neatness. I am glad she finally got to clean the erasers. I remember how much fun that was. When I was teaching I would occasionally get a couple of students to do that for me, and the students also liked to wash the chalkboard at the end of the day(11 year olds).


Brenda | 82 comments Did anyone else play the "alphabet game" like Ellen or slug-bug when they were on a long drive with their family growing up?


message 33: by Lil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lil Old Bookworm (AmarisLareau) | 2 comments I love how Beverly Cleary writes. She always transports me to that age where the world will absolutely end if you don't have a best friend in your class, or the absolute embarrassment of your classmates finding out about your woolen underwear. (For me, it was the shame of being the only flat-chested girl in 6th grade having to change for gym class wearing a undershirt while everyone else had a training bra. The Horror!)

Brenda--- Yes! We took tons of road trips when I was a kid, so definitely slug bug (which mom didn't like us to play so much) or license plate bingo.

Would be nice to go back when life was that simple, huh?


Brenda | 82 comments Lil- totally forgot about license plate bingo. :) We really weren't allowed to play slug-bug much either, to many arguments would ensue. Tears, hurt feelings and mom getting mad. And yes books provide me an opportunity for a nice visit to those times, which I do miss.


message 35: by Katie , The Lady with Megan-Follows-as-Anne-of-Green-Gables Hair (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katie  (BookishIlluminations) | 171 comments Mod
I *loved* reading Ellen Tebbits this time around, and chuckled at her antics! The suspense at the beginning surrounding Ellen needing to get into the closet to change was just perfect! I couldn't remember anything of the plot of this one, even though I'm sure I read it as a child.

Wendy, I agree with you about being a bit shocked about Ellen's slapping of Austine, and as I think about it more, I suppose it was the buildup and the annoyance and anger that Ellen had been developing with Austine's dress not being the same and her not really being bothered about it, etc. Their decision to dress alike in the first place was charming, and I thought it wonderful that the mothers went along with it. It was funny, though, that Austine's mother just wasn't as skilled as a seamstress!

This is just a quick post for now, and more tomorrow on Beverly Cleary's birthday. I've just baked a coffeecake to take into school and we'll have a fun day in the library!


message 36: by Indiana (new) - added it

Indiana | 68 comments So I pulled my old copy off my bookshelf for this reread and have gotten about halfway through it. I didn't remember most of it but as I read every chapter, it all comes flooding back.

I actually find it a stressful read as I generally do any "real" story. Somehow the traumas of the classroom and friendship is harder for me to read about than an evil wizard trying to kill a boy with a wand. But Ellen in dance class desperately trying to keep her woolen underwear from falling down takes me right back to grade school where I'd daily have to try to keep my noisy stomach from rumbling too loudly for fear of everyone laughing at me. And Ellen at the chalkboard trying to do sums takes me back to my own time at the blackboard trying to diagram sentences. So I find this book very true to childhood but its not an easy read.

The edition I am reading has the illustrations by Louis Darling...presumably not a relation of our own Wendy Darling! The picture that Wendy linked above of the cleaning the erasers scene is one of his illustrations. I absolutely love them and they are such a charming part of the story.


Dichotomy Girl (dichotomygirl) | 49 comments This book brought back to me how in grade school / middle school, it was completely possible to get in a fight with your best friend and not speak for weeks for months, or sometimes it completely ruined your friendship. As an adult that's so sad to me! I can barely stand it when my husband and I are irritated with each other. :(


message 38: by Wendy Darling, The Lady in a Blue Dress (new) - rated it 5 stars

Wendy Darling (wendydarling) | 136 comments Mod
Coming back to respond more later, but there are so many great Cleary articles today! A couple:

100 Things About BC http://www.cbc.ca/books/2016/04/bever...

http://www.newyorker.com/culture/cult...

The New Yorker piece starts off with fond memories of ELLEN TEBBITS. :)


Rosemarie | 261 comments Wendy, thank you for the links. My daughters watched the Ramona tv show when they were little. The actress that played Ramona is Sarah Polley who is now a well-known Canadian film director. The series was also filmed in Canada. I am pretty sure that Sarah was on the Avonlea tv series when she was a teenager.


message 40: by Liz (last edited Apr 12, 2016 12:47PM) (new)

Liz | 10 comments I love this book and have read it many times. This time I listened to it with my eleven year old. She really loved it, especially the idea of having your mother make all your clothes and only ever wearing dresses. My mother made her a dress shortly before we listened to this book and it has become her favorite thing to wear. It's funny because the dress is lovely, but she love's it the most because someone actually made it just for her so it is one of a kind. The idea of having someone make clothes for her appeals to her now so much more after having the experience. Also it was funny because a very large desire of Ellen's is to be able to clap chalkboard erasers. I am in my 30s and had this lovely privilege in my classrooms as a kid, however, my eleven year old has only ever had white boards, so has never had to experience clapping erasers. Because she had a chalkboard when she was young, and chalkboard paint on household items and walls in homes is now a trend, she understood Ellen's wishing to be chosen, but doesn't have any first hand experience which was very amusing to me.


Brenda | 82 comments Katie- so sweet to be having cake for her birthday.

Thank you for all of those links Wendy, it's wonderful to see all of the love spreading on Beverly Cleary's birthday. The New Yorker piece is my favorite thus far.

Liz- So sweet for your daughter to have a dress that is all hers. It's always interesting to think of all the things that kids are missing out on. Rotary phones where your fingers get stuck and the super long cords that you had to unravel. Ugh hated them when I was little, but now I enjoy the look of them.


Rosemarie | 261 comments When we got our first phone there was a phone operator. It was a small town so there was only one operator. I thought a dial phone was fantastic. At one point in the early 80's we had a blue princess phone.
It is amazing that Beverly Cleary is 100 years old and her stories are still relevant. Take away the technology and you find kids who have fights with their friends, make up, get hurt feelings, feel anxious at school sometimes and get teased by boys. Life goes on.


Trisha Smith | 30 comments Ah, you guys are all too fast for me on this one!! I'm about half-way though reading Ellen Tibbits to my daughter at night, but so far I am loving it!! I really appreciate how Cleary is able to write such realistic and charming characters. I somehow missed this as a a child, but I read all of the Ramona books more times than I can count and many other of her books too.

What a great way to celebrate the author's birthday - I am very much enjoying all of the articles have been written about her over the last few weeks!!

Looking forward to finishing the book!!


Brenda | 82 comments Trisha wrote: "Ah, you guys are all too fast for me on this one!! I'm about half-way though reading Ellen Tibbits to my daughter at night, but so far I am loving it!! I really appreciate how Cleary is able to wri..."

Look forward to hearing your daughters thoughts, join in anytime.


Rosemarie | 261 comments I used to read "chapter books" to my daughters at bedtime. I wish I had kept track of the titles. Enjoy this time with your daughter Trisha, it goes by all too quickly.
My daughters are now both moms and have that to look forward to. Now we recommend books to each other instead. It's all good.


Trisha Smith | 30 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I used to read "chapter books" to my daughters at bedtime. I wish I had kept track of the titles. Enjoy this time with your daughter Trisha, it goes by all too quickly.
My daughters are now both mo..."


Thanks Brenda and Rosemarie!!

So neat to hear that you and your daughters recommend book to each other. I love doing this with my mom as well - such a neat experience to share :)


message 47: by Liz (new)

Liz | 10 comments Brenda wrote: "Katie- so sweet to be having cake for her birthday.

Thank you for all of those links Wendy, it's wonderful to see all of the love spreading on Beverly Cleary's birthday. The New Yorker piece is m..."


The dress thing was very sweet and somewhat funny in that I am sure for kids like Austine, she would have loved ready made purchased clothes be mainstream and the norm since her mother didn't sew well, now my daughter is hoping to get a wardrobe out of my mother after having the dress. :) At first I was a little afraid that she would not enjoy it as much because of the fact that it is set in a time she has not real reference to, however, she loved it and we are not listening to Emily's Runaway Imagination at her request.


Brenda | 82 comments Rosemarie- I've kept a stack of favorite picture books that my kiddo and I read together and luckilystill have the middle grade ones as well. But lately I've been blogging about the books that we've read together to try and keep a record of newer favorites.

Trisha- I wish my mother and I had similar interests in books and could share a few. Sadly, I'm just not as huge a fan of biographies or autobiographies as she is.


message 49: by Katie , The Lady with Megan-Follows-as-Anne-of-Green-Gables Hair (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katie  (BookishIlluminations) | 171 comments Mod
Rosemarie--yes, Sarah Polley was in Avonlea and I do recall that she was in Ramona when she was younger! My family members were avid watchers of all the Avonlea episodes and we made it a weekly tradition to watch Avonlea on Monday nights on the Disney channel!


Trisha Smith | 30 comments Brenda wrote: "Rosemarie- I've kept a stack of favorite picture books that my kiddo and I read together and luckilystill have the middle grade ones as well. But lately I've been blogging about the books that we'v..."

Ah yes, I always struggle though those type of books as well. It usually takes me at least a year to finish any type of non-fiction books because I always end up going back to the fiction book that I'm reading after a day or two.

I love that you blog about books you and your kiddo read together!! What a great list to have :)


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Ellen Tebbits (other topics)
A Girl from Yamhill (other topics)
My Own Two Feet (other topics)
The Luckiest Girl (other topics)
The Black Stallion (other topics)
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