On January 1st, An Unconventional Librarian, an educational, book-loving blogger whom I follow, posted the following challenge, which I love and have been promoting over the inter-webs. I thought it would be fun to take the challenge myself and blog about it. I will be selecting from picture books, middle grade and young adult novels. I am selective about the books I recommend on this blog and endeavor to suggest books I feel maintain a high quality of art, writing and storytelling. I look forward to suggesting many old and new titles again this year.
ELLE & BUDDY falls into category #4 on this list.
Title: Elle & Buddy
Written by: K. D. Rausin
Illustrated by: Muza Ulasowski
Published by: Peter E. Randall, March, 2015
Themes/Topics: dogs, adaptive sports, wheelchairs, disability
Suitable for ages: 7+
Elle peeked through her fingers and counted the cars on the ferris wheel. ‘Oh no! I am not going up there. It’s too high!’ The cars at the tippy-top dropped down from the clouds like summer rain
Elle, a young girl in a wheel chair is at the fair with her rescue dog, Buddy, but is too fearful to try the ferris wheel, even if Buddy goes with her. On the way home from the fair, Elle sees her first racing wheelchairs on a track and starts to dream. She sketches and visualizes a day when she can race as fast as Buddy. One day she awakens to a surprise gift of a racing wheelchair and begins to train rigorously with Buddy alongside her. She soon outpaces even Buddy. The story ends back in the theme park with an Elle transformed by her racing speed and sense of achievement and now more than willing to overcome her fear and brave the ferris wheel.
Why I like This Book:
Yesterday I watched the movie, DOLPHIN Tale 2, a sequel continuing the story of Winter the rescued dolphin, who, with the help of Dr. Cameron McCarthy, learned to use a unique prosthetic tail. This is based on a true story and aquarium in Florida. The most moving part of the movie for me was watching kids and veterans with prosthetic limbs moved and inspired by Winter’s rescue and adaptation to a huge disability for a dolphin. ELLE & BUDDY has the same effect for me.
While fictional it is inspired by the author’s own daughter, who was paralyzed in a car accident at age ten. But who in her teens and now as a college student has gone on to some extraordinary athletic feats with her racing wheelchair and whose winning attitude, just like Elle in this story, is an inspiration for everyone overcoming challenges. Buddy, Elle’s huge rescue dog is an adorable companion throughout this story.
Muza’s gift of stunning natural realism in her art gives a vivid presence and authenticity to this picture book. She paints digitally with Wacom Tablet utilizing Artrage Studio Pro & Photoshop CS5 programmes. Look for the many illustrative Florida wildlife details, where the story takes place, by this Australian illustrator!
- The author talks about why she wrote this story on her website.
- The book contains a timeline of the history of wheelchair racing and a page of works consulted, for further study.
- Kids interested in adaptive sports should check out the Challenged Athletes Foundation.