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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Like all little children, Ella Lee is a curious child. She loves to see new things and she especially loves animals. She particularly loves to hold them and pet them. The only thing is, some animals are hard to catch and others just don’t want to be handled by a human. But, it makes for a fun adventure for Ella Lee, especially when she sees a hummingbird and decides right then and there that she must hold it in her hands. Well, for anyone who’s ever seen a hummingbird, not only are they really tiny, but they’re also really fast – not the easiest bird to catch. But that doesn’t stop Ella Lee from trying and, in the process of chasing the hummingbird, she meets up with some interesting creatures: peacocks, an owl, a fox, and underwater, a seahorse as well as others. She asks each one about the hummingbird as she must continue on her quest.
Michael Pekala’s picture book story, Ella Lee in To Catch a Hummingbird, is a sweet story about a curious little girl with a particular love and fascination for animals and all living creatures. The plot follows the girl’s quest and includes some interesting and sometimes humorous conversations with the animals and sea creatures she meets along the way. The illustrations are spectacular, almost giving the impression of Renaissance tapestries of finely woven threads – beautiful. With each creature she meets, she talks with them and describes some of their curious attributes. I particularly enjoyed the meeting with the peacocks: “The gaze of a hundred blue and black eyes are upon here.” And, what should a little girl do for the peacocks? Well, this little girl decides to dance the boogie-woogie. What fun. The language is simple for young readers to follow. There are some onomatopoeia (sound words), text written in different colors, and text written to imitate shapes, all adding to the fun of reading the story. What a great way to introduce young readers to some of the wonderful creatures around us.