Elliot Reviews

School Library Journal

Elliot_Website“Gauthier’s…drawings are simple but poignantly depict the range of emotions Elliot experiences. The muted colors also help reinforce the low-key, reassuring message. Pearson handles this delicate subject with an understandable, sensitive, and sympathetic text. Recommended for libraries seeking books to help young children understand that birth parents sometimes do not how to care for them and that other caregivers must enter their lives.”

Booklist

“Elliot, an anthropomorphized bunny, is just a regular kid. His parents love him very much, but they don’t know how to take care of him. A man named Thomas comes to help, and he takes Elliot to a foster family where everything is different. His new environment is jarring, but Elliot soon feels understood and cared  adopted into a family that will take care of him forever. Fostering is a difficult topic, but Pearson addresses it in a gentle, age-appropriate manner free of blame. Her direct lines keep the focus solidly on Elliot’s emotional reactions, and repetition reinforces a reassuring undercurrent of familiarity in each new home. Gauthier’s collage illustrations, in muted tones and childlike shapes, effectively dampen the realism of the potentially scary scenarios in the story and keep the mood somber but hopeful. Though it might not be representative of every fostering experience, this sensitive story nevertheless could be a comfort to children in the foster system.”
—Sarah Hunter

Publishers Weekly

“Elliot– a young rabbit with a tendency to cry, yell, and misbehave– moves between several homes in this story of adoption, foster care, and finding a “forever family.” Debut author Pearson never blames Elliot for his behavior (it’s unclear if he’s meant to have a developmental disorder), instead focusing on his parents’ inability to understand their son. After Elliot’s parents seek help, he is sent to live temporarily with an unfamiliar but loving family. Elliot later returns to his parents, but this proves short-lived; following a stint with a second foster family, Elliot is told that his parents could never take care of him, because they did not know how. A muted palette of gray, blue, and manila reflects the somber, uncertain mood, and Gauthier’s (“Magic Little Words”) naif-styled rabbits resemble cutout paper dolls dropped into the scenes, suggestive of the way Elliot is shuttled around. Elliot eventually finds a family that understands him, and while the book’s somewhat oblique language may require supplemental explanation from adult readers, Pearson’s refusal to sugarcoat his journey should resonate with children in similar situations.”

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Resource Links

“Elliot is a young bunny whose needs are not being met by his parents. They do not possess the parenting skills needed to raise Elliot and to make sure his care is complete. Elliot must learn that while his mom and dad love him, they are unable to care for him and to protect him, and therefore, he must live in a foster family until his own parents can care for him. The story teaches a young audience about foster families and child welfare. It provides a gentle, caring way of introducing the concepts of finding a forever home which is loving and nurturing and inclusive for children when their own family cannot cope. Elliot’s journey through foster care to his forever home is fraught with emotion, but the end result demonstrates the challenge of finding the right new family to love him and the perfect fit between child and foster family. In the end, the perfect match is found and Elliot is happy. This is an excellent teaching tool for classroom discussion about families and relationships. It is also a wonderful book to provide comfort, hope and assistance in adapting to a foster family situation for children in that process. Highly recommended.”
—Sharon Armstrong

Today’s Parent

“Written by Julie Pearson (an adoptive mother) and illustrated by Manon Gauthier, Elliot is a gentle guide to the foster child system from a kid’s point of view. Elliot’s parents love him, but when he starts crying and misbehaving they don’t know what to do. That’s when Elliot meets a social worker named Thomas…

…The book tackles a complex issue in an approachable and kid-friendly way with adorable bunny characters and soft collage illustrations. It’s a must-read.”

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Youth Services Book Review

“This is a book that tries to explain the foster care system to young children. We are introduced to a little rabbit named Elliot and told ‘His mother and father loved him very much.’ But unfortunately, they do not know what to do when Elliot cries or yells or misbehaves….Thomas tells Elliot he will find him a ‘forever, forever family.’ Elliot takes time to adjust but ‘In time, Elliot grew attached to his new family. When he cried or yelled or misbehaved, his new parents would hold him in their arms and tell him they loved him forever, forever.’ His birth parents still visit him, but one day Elliot is officially adopted and ‘…would never have to change families again.’ The collage illustrations in muted tones reflect the gentleness of the story. This is a lovely book to share with a child trying to cope with the intricacies of being a foster child. The book stresses that Elliot is always loved and that everyone wants to do what is best for him. This is a must-have for public libraries.”

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CM Magazine

“The illustrations in Elliot are beautifully designed using a simple collage format and soft neutral tones. Gauthier’s pencil lines and detailed sketching are clearly visible throughout, adding a delightfully innocent and child-like feel to the book. The text flows effortlessly from beginning to end and offers repetitive passages which young children will unquestionably enjoy reciting aloud…

Since relatively few picture books currently exist that offer an intimate glimpse into the foster child system, Elliot is a much welcomed and necessary literary contribution. Children who have undergone experiences similar to those of Elliot will undoubtedly enjoy having a story and character that they can easily identify with. This book would be a valuable contribution to any primary classroom, particularly those including students who reside in foster homes. A simple yet powerful tale of hope, love, and belonging, Elliot tugs on the heartstrings and leaves readers with a heightened appreciation of the courage and resiliency of foster children and their families.

Highly Recommended.

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CanLit for LittleCanadians 

“As soon as I read Elliot, I knew it was something very, very special. And then I learned that Elliot was a translation (capably handled by Pajama Press’ Managing Editor Erin Woods) of a 2014 French-language picture book from Les 400 coups that had already won Le Prix du livre jeunesse des Bibliothèques de Montréal for 2015. Its subtlety and poignancy ensures its sure status as a winner in English as well!…Elliot is a heartfelt story about finding one’s true family, the one that will love and care for you forever. It might be a foster family, it may be the family you’re born into, or it might be the one that ultimately adopts you, as Elliot is fortunate to find. But Julie Pearson embues the story of Elliot with an underlying sadness, for Elliot who is being a child and for his parents who try to do the best they can for him but can’t quite manage it. And Manon Gauthier’s subtle collages of muted colours, save for Elliot’s red striped shirt, express that sadness and the grayness of tenuous family so movingly. I defy anyone to read Elliot and not cry for the emotional hardships Elliot braves and cheer for the rosy blush of happiness (with a splash of red text) that comes when Elliot becomes part of a new family. There are very few picture books that I want to clutch a little tighter and hold onto in my heart a little longer. Elliot is one that has touched me so.”
—Helen Kubiw

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Waking Brain Cells

“This book is so very important. It is a book about the foster care system and one that is so intensely honest that it can be hard to read at times. Pearson manages to not make Elliot’s parents bad at all, keeping their neglect of Elliot vague enough to fit the experiences of many children… Honest and vital, this picture book fills a huge gap in children’s books with its depiction of the foster system for small children. Appropriate for ages 3-5.”
Tasha Saecker

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Not all children are born into families where their needs can be met. There are many reasons for that. Perhaps the parents are too young, too inexperienced, incapable of providing the monetary support needed to help a child grow and flourish. Whatever the reason, there are times when children must be placed in foster care to ensure their growth and well-being….Honest and heartfelt, this book about foster parenting and adoption is a needed addition to any collection. Told in clear prose, with cut paper collage art done in quiet tones, it reflects the experiences of many children. I have not read another picture book dealing with the foster care system.”

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Raising Mom

MY EXPERIENCE:

…I appreciated the way that rabbits are used as anthropomorphic representations, perhaps softening this jarring subject matter. The gouache and pencil drawings are child-like and effectively portray the wide-range of emotions that Elliot feels throughout the course of the hectic back-and-forth of his journey from birth family to foster family and back and forth again until he is placed in his ‘forever home’. I think this is a powerful book about a difficult subject that is an important read-aloud to those kids who are going through similar circumstances as well as any child who knows someone who is being fostered.

LIKES:

  • sensitive discussion/presentation at a kid-friendly level of a very difficult topic
  • focus is on Elliot’s emotions and blame or judgement is not placed on birth parents
  • illustrations are sensitive, gentle, yet effectively explore the range of emotions this journey evokes…

WHY/HOW USE IT WITH KIDS:

  • …excellent read-aloud with children who have friends or classmates who are being fostered to help them understand what may be going on with their peers and what ‘foster care’ means”

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