A few days ago, I started a new board on Pinterest, “Favorite Middle-Grade Novels.” As I was pinning my pictures of my favorite book covers, a name popped in my head that I hadn't thought of for a very long time—Ellen Tebbits. I searched for the cover. When the image popped up, I felt like I was meeting up with a very old friend. There's Ellen Tebbits, wearing a tutu, in a ballet pose, looking justifiably annoyed as Otis Spofford stands right beside her, in cowboy regalia, mischievously mirroring her move. I knew I had to read it again.
Beverly Cleary wrote Ellen Tebbits in the early fifties. Some things no longer belong to our world. Today children don't experience the trauma of wearing woolen underwear, the joy of clapping erasers during recess, the anger when someone pulls the sash of your dress at school, or the delight of walking around town while your spurs jingle jangle.
However, I didn't care that those things were out of date. The ideas expressed in this book transcend time: the need for a best friend, the torment of being teased by a boy, the longing to wear the right clothes and to always fit in. I raced through this book and decided that this would be a Cleary summer. In other words, I'm in for a good time.