Ellie Bean the Drama Queen!

Ellie Bean the Drama Queen!

Jennie Harding, Author

David Padgett, Illustrator

Sensory World, Imprint of Future Horizons, 2011, Fiction

Suitable for:  Ages 4 and up

Theme:  Processing sensory messages, neurological disability, teamwork with the family, therapist and school

Opening/Synopsis“With her unevenly cut brown hair, bare feet, and loud, munchkin-like singing voice, Ellie Bean spun wildly in circles in her backyard.  As the wind blew harder against her face, Elli Bean laughed and sang longer…and louder…and louder.  Her spinning became faster…and faster!”  Ellie’s mother yells for her to slow down.  When she suddenly stops  spinning very fast, she doesn’t  seem wobbly.  She takes off running after a butterfly.  She spots a bee and runs screaming into the house sobbing.  Her mother quietly asks her what is wrong.  But, Ellie is not able “to put her fear into words.”   Many things upset Ellie like the smell and taste of toothpaste,  the flushing the toilet, getting a hair cut.  For Ellie, everything is “too loud,  too scratchy, too painful, too tight, too smelly, too ouchy and too squishy,”  all of which send her into a meltdown.  Some people think she’s drama queen.

Ellie and her parents visit a specialist and learn that she has a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD).  An occupational therapist works with Ellie and her parents to discover what things make her feel better and calm her down, like swinging, spinning, jumping on a trampoline, brushing her arms and legs with a soft brush and wrapping her tightly in a blanket.  After her parents start using these exercises with her, Ellie  begins to use words to tell her mom what is bothering her.

Why I like this book:  Jennie Harding uses drama and a lot of action to show how SPD affects the quality of life for children.  She is the parent of a child with sensory-processing difficulties and a special educator.  SPD is a term used to cover a variety  of neurological disabilities, not just one.  Some children with autism have SPD.  David Padgett has created a very colorful and lively illustrations that beautifully compliment the story.  Harding says it is important the parents educate themselves and seek help.  An Occupational Therapist will know what tools can be used to ease the discomfort for a child, who has difficulty processing information that is received in the brain.   It is also important to train the child to listen to his/her own body.  Please read the Author Information about SPD at the back of the book.  She gives an overview and provides important resources and web sites for parents.

Resources:  Visit the Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation , which is establishing an on-line SPD University, The Sensory and Motor Integration Website of the University of Texas at Austin, and the Sensory Integration Global Network for more information.  This is a book that could be used in the classroom to discuss sensory issues with students.  A lot of kids find things that are too ouchy, too itchy, too noisy, and too smelly.  This would help children better understand kids with SPD.  You could also have children draw pictures about what bothers them most.  This could lead to a lively discussion about similarities.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

28 thoughts on “Ellie Bean the Drama Queen!

  1. The beginning is great as it could be any kid and we see how easily we jump to conclusions! I think I would learn a lot from this book, Pat!


    • Joanna, I was drawn to this book when I saw it for many reasons. The SPD kids are like sponges that soak up too much energy around them — and it is very painful. Then there brains are wired in such a way that they many times have trouble processing and communicating what is happening. I first learned about this in the very first books I reviewed “Off We GO!” series written by a mother to her son to relieve his anxiety before he went to the doctor, grocery store. Glad you liked te book.


  2. I’m working on a story about my son who has a rare brain disorder. Kind of like this. But in a different way. I’ll get this book, because it sounds beautiful and it will help me as I work on my own. I love the showing. And the action. 🙂


    • Robyn, I have learned there are many children with this brain – neurological problem. And, I do think it impacts each child differently. You might look at books from the publisher, Sensory World, for more inspiration. I also ran across another book somewhere, that I really liked. It’s also nice to know your competition. Good luck.


  3. SPD is what my sister has. Actually, Ellie Bean is a lot like my sister. Infact, one of her treatments is the “brush the arms and legs with a brush” thing. I think this book will help me understand my sister better. It might also help my sister to know that she isn’t alone, and that there are other kids like her. Thank you for reviewing this book! Found two other book “Why Does Izzy Cover Here Ears?”: Dealing with Sensory Overload, and “Sensitive Sam: Sam’s Sensory Adventure Has a Happy Ending.” On Amazon.


    • Erik, I did think of your sister as I thought you had mentioned SPD to me. You might look at the publisher on line, Sensory World, as they publish a number of books. As I told Robyn, I also discovered another great picture book on it, but can’t remember where I saw it. If I remember I’ll tell you. Tell Josie for me that in some ways I understand a little of what she feels. After my brain injury, I had problems with lights, sound, smells, and would feel easily overwhelmed by everything. Prefer quiet. That was the other reason I was interested in this book, because of my own neurological issues. Hope it helps you!


  4. Oh my Pat, so many times I come here and learn something new. This is no exception. While I am aware of some of these actions, I probably might regarded it as a mere nervous reaction to something…. without realising its full name or what it could actually be. Thankyou for enlightening us. Reading Erik’s comment I appreciate even more his sense of understanding and awareness. Thankyou Pat for another eye-opener.


    • Diane, thank you. I’m glad you liked the choice. Many kids with autism deal with sensory issues, although kids with SPD don’t have autism. A lot of sensory overload issues. It’s a very interesting subject and I feel immensely for the kids with it. Thanks fors stopping — accidentally released this post on Mar. 31, by accident, and then removed it from my blog. I wanted to run it a little later. First time I did that. So those who subscribe by e-mail received a draft of this review weeks ago. HA! I’m sure I’ll do it again.


  5. How do you find all these amazing picture books Pat? I haven’t heard of this one yet and it sounds like an enjoyable book where you can also learn a great deal. Thanks for sharing this.


  6. My daughter has auditory processing disorder, but I’ve never heard of SPD before your post. The book sounds like it is helpful and I really like that the book is colorful and lively. Thanks Patricia!


    • Coleen, you know I’m beginning to wonder if there is a fine line between many of the disorders. I believe my daughter had an auditory processing disorder when she was young, but I don’t think there was a name for it. She is also hearing impaired, which complicated it. But, I could see her in Ellie. The good news is that my daughter got older, you would never know today. She worked with speech therapists and others through middle and into high school. She just had to find her way of processsing information and putting it out. Now at age 27, you would not know. Think you’d like the book.


  7. Thank you so much for this book, Patricia. My older son is highly sensitive, and I get comments from many parents who can’t believe that he is afraid of loud noises, surprises or many kids shows with villains. I can only imagine what it must be like to have a child with SPD.


    • Kirsten, my daughter didn’t handle loud noises, the dark on an amusement ride, or fire. She out grew it. It really is ard for kids with sensory processing issues. I have some understanding, after having a brain injury. Everything is too loud, bright, smelly, and overwhelming. So, I empathisize.


    • Barbara, Glad you liked the choice. It’s nice to know word is getting about disorders like SPD, because it helps people understand that maybe something more is going on and not just a tantrum.


  8. While I hate being late to the party, the comments on this one really added a new dimension to the story and how important it is to have books showing children with SPD.


  9. Thanks, Patricia, for adding another much-needed book to the list. My husband is an occupational therapist. He is in adult therapy/work injuries now, but worked with kids earlier in his career. I am amazed daily at the problems adults are still trying to deal with due to lack of information available to parents and educators as they were growing up.


    • Penny, I find your comments about your husband’s work interesting. Spent some time with ad OT, PT and ST. So I know of what you speak of. The information available today is wonderful compared to our years growing up. Much about what I review, I never saw as a child or teen. A child with sensory problems would have been labled spoiled. We live in a different world and I am happy to find the materil out there.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s