Books by Ellen Stoll Walsh

WHERE IS JUMPER? by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Released: Oct. 13, 2015

"Walsh has a knack for creating illustrations and text that seem ever so simple yet have plenty of acumen, emotion, and pure fun. More mice, please. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Walsh brings back her trademark mice for another concept book (Balancing Act, 2010, etc.).Read full book review >
BALANCING ACT by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Released: Sept. 21, 2010

Walsh's latest finds her trademark mice exploring the mathematical concept of balance. With a stick and a rock, two mice make a teeter-totter and enjoy balancing…until a salamander wants to play and makes the weights uneven. Luckily, another joins him, and the teeter-totter is even again, a mouse and a salamander on each end. This pattern repeats with a pair of frogs. But then a single, large bird arrives, sending a few of the balancers catapulting into the air. The seven are able to achieve a tentative balance once again by stacking all the animals on one side and the bird on the other. But the precarious stack can't last, and everyone hops, crawls or flies away to do something else…all but the mice, who balance once again. Fans will certainly recognize old friends in the mice, salamanders and frogs from previous outings. A white background makes the textures and bright colors in the author's cut-paper illustrations pop off the pages as well as making it easy for young readers to focus on the mathematical concept. Tips the scales in a subject area surprisingly lacking. (Picture book. 2-5)Read full book review >
MOUSE SHAPES by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Released: July 1, 2007

Stoll's signature paper-collaged mice return with another cheerful exposition for preschoolers. This time, a trio—Fred, Violet and Martin—elude the cat by hiding in a pile of bright shapes. Once the threat subsides, the mice manipulate the shapes, chatting it up in a plainspoken play-by-play nicely pitched for young children: "We can make things with them. Here's a square. A triangle on top makes it a perfect house for a little mouse." No sooner do they depict the cat (exercising plenty of artistic license with color and the size of the triangular teeth) than the real beast sends them scurrying again. To turn the tables, they construct "three big scary mice" (clearly crafted to amuse, not frighten preschoolers) dispatching the cat. Stoll's colorful collages appear within white rectangles bordered in black. The crisp layout and well-chosen typography align this volume with Stoll's earlier concept books, Mouse Paint (1989) and Mouse Count (1991). This welcome addition should inspire both kids and grown-ups to create their own shape stories. (Picture book. 2-7)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

Two male hamsters, Henry and Pell, find a feather during a visit to the beach. As they attempt to find the seagull who lost the feather, they meet a hermit crab and a fiddler crab. When the hamsters finally find the seagull, he explains that he can grow new feathers and he gives the hamsters some small feathers of their own to play with. The final page shows eight different kinds of shells that were included in the previous illustrations so young readers can go back to search for them. Walsh's characteristic cut-paper collage illustrations are appealing, as usual, and the story, though slight, has moments of humor and includes a few simple facts about the beach environment and the creatures the hamsters meet. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2003

The dynamic mouse detective duo is at it again solving mysteries of the natural world for young children. This time, Dot and Jabber tackle the problem of disappearing bugs. Out for a walk in the meadow, they stop to watch some bugs, but when they turn away and look back again, the bugs have disappeared. The two begin gathering clues, looking, listening, and chatting with the other animals in the meadow. Gradually, they learn that the bugs are hiding from animals that might eat them. The last clue leads the mice to look closely for small movements, and they find all the missing bugs—they were hiding in plain sight. A final page gives readers more information about insects and introduces the term camouflage. Young children will enjoy the seek-and-find quality to the illustrations as they try to find all the bugs on each page. Walsh's paper collages make the hidden bugs stand out a little more, without completely giving away their locations. Another excellent science mystery. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

They're baaaack! Those cute and clever mouse detectives from Dot & Jabber and the Great Acorn Mystery (2001) set off to investigate why the stream has dried up after a big storm. Minnows, crayfish, and a snake contribute to the clues. The dialogue is natural and nuanced with childlike simplicity: "We've never looked for lost water before"; and "How can a stick make water go away?" The answer, of course, is a beaver-like dam ("only without the beavers") and when it bursts, the mice decide: "Let's put some of the clues together and make a raft to take us home." Walsh's signature collage illustrations work perfectly with the story, adding touches of texture. The book is nicely designed with attractive batik-like endpapers, quality paper, glossy color finish, and a size appropriate for the age group. The last page provides "More about Storms and Dams." Walsh has crafted an outstanding combination of preschool/kindgergarten story with nature information. Hopefully, Dot and Jabber are lining up more mysteries to add to this excellent stream of informative titles for young minds. (Picture book. 3-6)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2001

More of Walsh's (Mouse Magic, 2000, etc.) mice have arrived on the scene to delight and teach young readers. Dot and Jabber are detectives in search of a mystery, and they find it in a little oak tree. While Dot wonders how the acorn got so far from the big oak tree, Jabber wonders what an acorn is. As the two mice learn and investigate together, they test hypotheses of how the acorn traveled and fight the urge to eat the clues they find. And in the end, the detectives always get their man, er, squirrel. Budding young naturalists will appreciate the additional information on acorns and oak trees that follows the story. Walsh's cut-paper pictures echo the topic, with their textures and inclusions of fibers showing through and marvelously portraying the natural world. Dot and Jabber are the perfect mice to lead young readers in exploring the great outdoors. (Picture book. 3-7)Read full book review >
FOR PETE'S SAKE by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Released: Oct. 1, 1998

As an alligator among flamingos, Pete is a fish out of water. In a Stellaluna-like storyline, he notices some distinct differences, such as his color (green) and theirs (pink). He's disturbed until he happens upon some fellow alligators, or, as Walsh puts it, "flamingos who looked just like Pete." The happiest aspect of the story is the flamingos' ready acceptance of Pete as one of their own; they exclaim over his luck in having two extra legs and reassure him that the best feathers take the longest to grow. Walsh's cut-paper collages, like those in Pip's Magic (1994), dexterously use flecked paper to add texture to the alligator's skin and visible threads that suggest feathers on the flamingos. The simple green and pink animals stand confidently against white backgrounds, with only a hint of rock to stand on or water to wade in, accentuating shape for young onlookers. A comforting, gladdening tale. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >
JACK'S TALE by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

Jack is a cut-paper frog, applied to the page, whom Walsh (Samantha, 1996, etc.) uses to explain the broadest elements of a fairy tale: the challenge, the mettle tested, the happily ever after. The story opens with a writer contemplating a fairy-tale project. There will be royalty involved, and trolls—and Jack. He balks: ``Leave me out. Fairy tales aren't safe—I saw those trolls.'' At the writer's coaxing, Jack reluctantly agrees to participate. Thus the tale unfolds. The princess is abducted by trolls, the king calls on Jack to save the fair maiden, the trolls fall to bickering and pose no problem, there's a rescue, and a return. Walsh cleverly unravels the mechanics of the tale as she merrily erects its structure, but that unraveling also defeats any possibility of tension or drama—the very stuff of fairy tales. The expressionless, unblinking, upright hero, his damsel, and their foes further drain the story of interest, past the intriguing opening. Pair this with real fairy tales at story hours, for children will love the idea of the protagonist being persuaded to take on his task, and will want to apply Jack's formula, not only to see when it ``works,'' but when it varies, as well. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
SAMANTHA by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Released: March 1, 1996

The popular cut-paper collage mice return to help Walsh (Pip's Magic, 1994, etc.) with a gentle lesson about feeling safe. Samantha is the smallest of the mouse children and frequently finds herself overwhelmed by the others' rough-and-tumble teasing. When her wish for a fairy godmother comes true, she sits safely and comfortably on the sidelines, but comes to realize that she is missing out on fun. Samantha once again gets her wish when she sends the fairy godmother away, and sorely misses the companionship. When the two reunite, it's with a new understanding about the level of protection that Samantha needs. The individuality possible in mice formed from torn, highly textured brown paper is surprising, and the contrasting soft blue of the fairy godmother works well. Reminiscent of Leo Lionni's minimalist fare, this personable piece will find an audience in all toddlers taking their first timid steps toward independence. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >
PIP'S MAGIC by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

A salamander finds magic in an unexpected place when he sets out after a cure for his fear of darkness. Assured by a trio of frogs that Abra the magician can help, Pip follows his trail- -through dark woods, an even darker tunnel, and a long, long night. Finding the old turtle at last, Pip begs for magic to be brave in the dark. ``But you already have magic,'' the sage replies, ``you found it in the woods and in the tunnel and in the night....'' Walsh's dappled, cut-paper collages evoke Leo Lionni's for simplicity and immediacy. Pip's red-orange, blue-speckled body makes an instant visual focus as he clambers over large, egg shaped pebbles, ventures into the serpentine tunnel, is seen in a cutaway view, or climbs a rocky hill lit by a huge golden moon. Less rarified of theme than Walsh's Hop Jump (1993), this imaginative, boldly colored treatment of a common anxiety is her best work yet. (Fiction/Picture book. 2-6) Read full book review >
HOP JUMP by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

Another outstandingly handsome book from the creator of Mouse Count (1991, ALA Notable). Betsy, a blue frog, only watches while the other frogs hop and jump, ``always the same''; she's more interested in the gyrations of a floating leaf, which inspire her to devise new movements, uniquely hers, that she calls ``dancing.'' When the other frogs declare there's ``No room for dancing,'' she's undeterred. But once she's found her own place ``for dancing only,'' the others are curious and join in- -except for one holdout hopper. ``No room for hopping,'' declare the converts, but Betsy is wiser: ``Yes, there's room...For dancing and for hopping.'' This amiable fable, briefer than the words it takes to describe it, is set in a large, square book with plenty of room for the cut-out frogs—in artfully spattered shades of green, except for the blue Betsy—to leap and twirl against a crisp white ground. A beautifully designed book that, like Walsh's earlier efforts, yields new subtleties and visual delights with each reading. (Picture book. 3-8) Read full book review >
YOU SILLY GOOSE by Ellen Stoll Walsh
Released: Sept. 1, 1992

When Emily's goslings hatch, her good friend George (a mouse) brings a warning—``I have seen the fox''—and eavesdropper Lulu leaps to a truly foolish conclusion: with his big ears and bright eyes, George himself must be the fox, ``come to eat us all!'' While Emily sensibly ignores her, Lulu goes on squawking until the real fox turns up, only to be bravely outwitted by little George. With wonderfully clean, appealing collage art, a graceful, deftly honed text, and a real plot that- -for all its brevity and simplicity—has suspense and a satisfying denouement, another winner from the creator of Mouse Count (1991, ALA Notable). (Picture book. 2-6) Read full book review >