Author: Sarah Naish
Illustrator: Kath Grimshaw
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
ISBN: 978 178592 5160
eISBN: 978 178450 9088
Age Range: 3-7 Years Old
Ellie Jelly wakes up hungry and ready for breakfast, but Mum is busy with her little sister Grace. Ellie tries to get Mum’s attention: she bangs the table, she makes loud singing noises, but it’s no good. Finally, she decides to make her own breakfast, picking up the heavy milk carton and – OH NO – spilling the milk all over the table and the floor!
Mum gets really angry and shouts at Ellie – Ellie feels all wobbly and her chest is banging – will Ellie Jelly and Mum ever be friends again?
This book will help children aged 3-7 to understand why parents sometimes get angry, and that they don’t always mean what they mean when they are cross. Ellie’s mum loves her more than the whole wide world.
Ellie Jelly and the Massive Mum Meltdown|Snuggleosophy Review
The artwork is made to look like a child drew the pictures with a crayon. I think that they are cute, but not great quality. I think that the lines could have been a bit cleaner, but the style adds to the charm of the book.
The message of this book is what won me over. I think that every parent has days where it is all just too much. I have definitely been in Ellie’s mom’s shoes. Between work, the house, and my daughter, I am exhausted at the end of the day. I have my meltdowns too, more often than I would like to admit.
It is OK to be tired. It is OK to feel like you don’t have it all together. At one point, Ellie’s mom calls in reinforcements (Ellie’s grandmother), and I honestly believe that is a great lesson. Sometimes, everyone, regardless of their age, needs their mom.
I also think that it is important to know that as parents, sometimes we mess up. Sometimes, we act in ways that aren’t acceptable toward our children. We are human and therefore we make mistakes.
However, I do believe the message is a bit one-sided. Ellie really wasn’t on her best behavior from the time she woke up, and while Ellie’s mom wasn’t correct in how she handled things, Ellie wasn’t without fault. I believe that when this sort of thing happens, it is important to convey to children that relationships and apologies are a two-way street.
I think that the writing in the book could have been improved. Being a big fan of Dr. Seuss, I am not a stranger to weird (or even made up) words. I do have a problem however, with using “cute” sounding words when they don’t add anything to the story.
There are many –y ending words implemented throughout the story that distract from the message. The sentences are also broken in many places, I assume to make the reading easier for children, but it also breaks up the flow of the story. For instance:
Ellie banged a bit harder. But still nobody came. Even when she did her loudest, shouty noise.
While breaking up complex sentences has an advantage for younger readers, the way this is written is disjointed. The –y words that I mention above also catch you off-guard. It makes reading the book out loud for a parent or educator more difficult than it needs to be.
Would I Recommend this Book?
I would recommend this book as a jumping-off point to talk to young children about why their parents (or other adults) sometimes get mad and need a break. I think that in the end, the lessons that the book provide, both for children and parents, outweigh the writing issues that it has.
Having been in both Ellie and her mom’s shoes, I know not only the pain and frustration of being a parent and having everything go wrong, but also the sadness when a parent melts down at you. I think it is important to have these sort of discussions with your children so that they can learn with the parent, and not have to feel alone when these sorts of things happen.
Let us know if you have read Ellie Jelly and the Massive Mum Meltdown and what you think about it in the comments below!
Disclaimer: I was provided a free copy of this book for the purpose of this review, but my thoughts and opinions above are 100% my own.
I also want to say that while the opinions are my own, the above article contains links from the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.
Caitlin is the managing director of Snuggleosophy and the mother of 1-1/2 year old Amanda. She has lived as an expat in Santiago, Chile for the past 7 years and speaks English and Spanish fluently. She loves to promote reading for children starting from birth as well as multilingual and multicultural parenting. For her day job, she is a pricing and transportation analyst for international freight.