The Little Encouragers

Ellie: New Town, New Mom

Children - Picture Book
24 Pages
Reviewed on 04/24/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Trisha Dawn for Readers' Favorite

The Little Encouragers - Ellie: New Town, New Mom, written by mother and daughter authors Mariah and Tallula Sebastien, talks about Ellie and her magical friends. After her parents’ divorce, Ellie and her mom moved to a new town. She also had to go to a new school. Ellie misses her friends terribly and she longs for those familiar surroundings. To make matters worse, her mom is angry all the time. Good thing some friendly magical creatures appeared at the right moment! With their help, Ellie tries to make her life happier again.

Right off the bat, The Little Encouragers is already good! It is well written, easy to digest and interesting enough to keep you hooked into the story until the very end. It is well written in a way that it has a clean feel. Readers definitely won’t get lost anywhere in the story line and the movement is always forward. One will be leafing through the pages without a hitch! The words used are easy on the eye and kids would definitely be fine reading this story on their own. Hence, it is easy to digest. Meanwhile, the inclusion of magic is the pull that will keep young readers' interest. The main character is another pull. Ellie herself is adorable. The moment you meet her, you will love her instantly. She is also an inspiration being the strong child that she is.

In this book, the usual problems kids face in a new environment are shown extensively through Ellie’s new life, but it also tackles a serious issue. The way the story is written, though, it is definitely made to help younger readers understand. The tandem team of mother and daughter authors - Mariah and Tallula Sebastien - is very successful! Also, can we talk about the illustrations? Tallula and Atticus nailed them. They just go well with everything and convey the story as it is. This book will put a smile on a young reader’s face and it can even make adult readers reminisce about their own childhoods. This is a great read most especially for kids. This is one of those stories that children should have on their night stand.

Jack Magnus

The Little Encouragers - Ellie: New Town, New Mom is a fantasy story for children written by Mariah and Tallula Sebastien, and illustrated by Tallula and Atticus Sebastien. Mariah is a single mom; her kids, Tallula and Atticus, are in the 3rd and 6th grades. Ellie wanted to stay in bed instead of going to school. Going to a new school was hard enough, but it was now April, and everyone had already made friends. But when she told her mom she had a tummy ache and asked if she could stay home, her mom got really angry. Ellie’s mom got angry a lot since she and Ellie’s dad got divorced. She shouted and lost her temper, and it made Ellie sad. Ellie missed the fun times she used to have with her mom. Ellie had trouble making friends at school as well, and was feeling very lonely when something amazing happened.

Mariah and Tallula Sebastien’s fantasy story for children, The Little Encouragers, is an engaging tale about a little girl whose life changes drastically after her parents get divorced. The authors’ perceptive and imaginative story addresses social issues that are relatively common ones. Going to a new school is a daunting thing at best, but going mid-term and with a stressed out parent at home can put a huge burden on small shoulders. Ellie’s book-friends have a magical effect on the lonely girl and help her see how she can turn everything around. Tallula and Atticus Sebastien’s illustrations are marvelous! I especially liked the top-down vision of the magical book sitting on Ellie’s bed and Ellie’s view of the school yard on her first day. The Little Encouragers - Ellie: New Town, New Mom is highly recommended.

Joel R. Dennstedt

Often when one reads a children’s book like The Little Encouragers – Ellie: New Town, New Mom by Mariah and Tallula Sebastien, with illustrations by Tallula and Atticus Sebastien, the reader is inclined to evaluate the writing, the illustrations, and then the complementary nature of the two. After all, this pairing is essential to the successful outcome of plot and story and message. What is brilliant about The Little Encouragers is that the illustrations are vital and irrevocably integral to the telling of a common if important modern tale about single parenting, single childing, with a major change of locale and school. In other words, in this case, the illustrations make the story. They do this because they are created by two children.

In The Little Encouragers, written and illustrated by the Sebastien family, young Ellie endures the dislocation caused by divorce and moving, but worse, she endures an angry transformation in her mom, now a single parent. She does not know how to cope, nor how to make things better. When a magical book appears upon her bed, from which fairytale creatures emerge to befriend and mentor her valiant efforts to adapt and persevere, Ellie is encouraged to make new friends at school and to communicate her fear, need, and desire to her mother. All a great message to convey, of course, but what really lends emotional depth and persuasive power to this meaningful story is the eminently credible and starkly simple illustrations born of a child’s own imagination. One cannot help but succumb to the completely candid rawness of the pictures. And thus, one cannot help but be encouraged for little Ellie. Well done to the Sebastiens!