Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons

Children - Picture Book
34 Pages
Reviewed on 11/27/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Joseph Goodrich is a pilot in the Marine Corps, a husband, a dad, and now an author! In his writing and personal life, he strives to help kids, including his own, understand and manage their emotions through storytelling. With a B.A. from Tufts University, an M.S. from the University of Maryland University College, an M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts Boston, and an Ed.D. from Northeastern University, Joseph approaches the world of children's literature with rich psychological insight. In Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons, his first children's book, Joseph delicately conveys lessons of empathy and emotional intelligence to young readers in a playful and approachable way. He currently lives on Long Island, New York with his family and two dogs.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Fiona Ingram for Readers' Favorite

In Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons by Joseph Goodrich, Ellie is a young elephant who has just moved into an old house with her mom and dad. It should be exciting, right? But for Ellie, the move is not at all enjoyable. The house is scary, and there are lots of weird creaking sounds. How can Ellie cope? Ellie is a lucky little elephant who is blessed with four adorable dragon friends – Naz, Nali, Tully, and Hani – who come out of Ellie's closet when Ellie feels happy, sad, scared, or mad. The four trusty friends help Ellie understand her emotions, give helpful and practical suggestions as to how to combat negative emotions, such as confronting her fears, and put her back on the right track. In the course of one day Ellie experiences all the emotions and gets help from her little dragon friends.

What an absolutely enchanting story! I fell in love with the artwork from the first page. The illustrations by Traci Van Wagoner are just fantastic, done in a style I have never seen before. The ink spatter style gives sweeping movements and is filled with energy, and I felt myself being carried along by the events. Young readers will be swept up into this tale by becoming visually engaged. There is so much to discover in each brightly colored panel, including subtle references to the colors of the little dragons.

Ellie is a character all young readers can relate to. Author Joseph Goodrich has set out to teach kids emotional intelligence, helping them to understand their emotions, how to deal with them in a positive way, and to understand themselves. I think this book will also be useful for parents who may have forgotten how scary it was to move, how sad they felt when a beloved parent had to go to work, and when a play date went awry. I also liked how the author includes politeness, saying sorry, and appreciation of others in Ellie thanking her adorable little friends for all their help. Parents and teachers will find many points to use for discussion. This is a delightful, entertaining story that will charm young readers while helping them to develop emotionally and to understand not only themselves, but others as well as they learn social skills. A real treat for all!

Jack Magnus

Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons is a children’s picture book written by Joseph Goodrich and illustrated by Traci Van Wagoner. Ellie is a young elephant who lives with her mother, her father, and her four tiny dragons. Her dragons live in her closet and come out to see her when she’s feeling happy, sad, mad or scared. If she’s happy, Hani comes out to join in her good feelings. If she’s mad, Tully appears to help her calm down. Naz is there when Ellie is frightened, and Nali always has the right words to make things better when Ellie feels sad and blue. Ellie and her parents have just moved into an old house with lots of strange noises and unfamiliar things. These scare Ellie, but Naz magically appears to help her lose her fears. How nice for Ellie to have tiny dragons who are so in tune with her emotions and even give her hugs!

Joseph Goodrich’s children’s picture book, Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons, is a marvelous way to get kids to understand the emotional changes they may go through and to find ways to cope with their fear, anger, sadness and happiness. Ellie’s dragons seem to have the answers for any situation, and their advice is a grand start for post-story time discussions about feelings and how to deal with them. Traci Van Wagoner’s illustrations are every bit as magical as those brightly colored tiny dragons. Each panel is a joy to look at, and would work quite well framed on a child’s bedroom wall. I loved seeing Ellie’s facial expressions as she copes with the emotions she feels and interacts with her dragons. Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons is most highly recommended.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons by Joseph Goodrich is a delightful children’s picture book. Ellie the elephant has just moved into a new home with her parents and the new house doesn’t make Ellie happy. Instead, she gets sad, scared, even angry at times but thankfully help is at hand. You see, Ellie has four tiny little dragons, magical dragons in fact, who help her to cope with her emotions and who always say the right thing. Ellie’s dragons help her to make a new friend and settle into her new house and, together, they help Ellie to overcome her fears, her sadness, and her anger, and make her feel happy again.

Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons by Joseph Goodrich is a wonderful book for children. It is a very colorful book, with loads of pictures and different colors to represent different emotions. This is a very artistic read, both in the story and in the drawings that accompany it; the pictures add so much to this book and make it one that young children will love and will really learn from. This is more than just a kid’s book – it will teach children how to understand the emotions they feel, how to cope with them and how to get through them; all important things that it really is never to early to start learning. Perhaps there are one or two older children or adults in the world that could benefit from these lessons too! Great book; kids the world over are going to love this – and so will their parents.

Lesley Jones

In Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons by Joseph Goodrich, we all experience different emotions and Ellie the elephant is no different. Except Ellie has some very special friends to help her understand that her feelings are very normal. Ellie has four amazing, magical dragons who live in her closet and appear when she needs them most. Naz appears when Ellie feels scared. Nali when she feels sad, Nani when Ellie is happy and wants to have fun, and Tully is there to reassure her when she feels angry. When Ellie moves into her new home, there are strange sounds and unfriendly neighbours, which result in Ellie needing the help and guidance of each of her four friends at different times of the day. Ellie learns about the importance of caring, sharing, forgiveness and love. She now knows how to deal with her different emotions and think more positively in the future. Discover how you can manage your negative feelings and turn them quickly into positive ones too.

One of my favourite things about a children’s book is if the subject matter has a great life lesson which reassures a child or boosts their self-confidence in some way. The author has created a superb example of this. The sweet little character Ellie has a lovely caring nature and is sensitive to the behavior of others. All of her feelings are validated when the magical dragons explain that her emotions are perfectly normal, but then they show her a solution to prevent her feeling negative. I think this would make a perfect read for parents and children to discuss certain upsetting events in a child’s life, whether it be missing a loved one, bullying or experiencing a change of circumstance. The illustrations by Traci Van Wagoner are exceptional and there are a lot of discussion points within the illustrations for the parent and child to share. A perfect addition to any bookshelf, but especially a school library.

Deborah Lloyd

Ellie is a little elephant girl who moved into an old house with her parents. The hissing radiators and creaking floors are scary to her. One day, she experienced the emotions of being scared, sad, mad and happy. Four magical dragons live in her closet and come out to help her when she is dealing with one of these emotions. There is a specific dragon, drawn in a corresponding color to the emotion, for each of these four basic emotions. The dragons do not admonish or judge her for her emotions, but rather they give her ways to work through the difficult emotions and celebrate happy feelings. Through the children’s book, Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons, written by Joseph Goodrich, a child can learn how to deal with her emotions in practical ways. The illustrations by Traci Van Wagoner are detailed and beautiful.

The story of Ellie and her parents is relatable to all children. The use of magical dragons is a wonderful tool for parents in teaching children how to manage emotions in a positive way. It is easy to see how parents could remind children of the story whenever a strong emotion arises within a small child. Whenever a parent reads this book to a child, the splendid illustrations further enhance the tale and will captivate the child’s imagination. Author Joseph Goodrich has written an enchanting children’s story in Ellie and Her Emotional Dragons. Ending the story with Ellie expressing gratitude to the dragons when she goes to bed is the perfect way to finish this delightful book!

John Doyle


Victoria Jones-Verhagan

I read this book to my children before bedtime and while it has all the makings of a whimsical cognitive feast, the book falls short of originality. The beautiful illustrations create a lifeblood for a book that fails to keep my children interested. I’m afraid this book is not worth the time or effort to read and disappoints what could have been a sure best seller. I only wish the writer had more to offer in terms of modern childhood cognitive development. There are literally thousands of books out there that have the same banal offerings for child development. Were it not for rich illustration i would not have given the book more than a one out of five. I know I will have the first non five star review of the book but I’m guessing not the last.

Wyman Goodrich

Excellent learning tool for a children's book. The illustrations are phenomenal and go well with the story. A fun book for any child. A must have.