Friday, September 26, 2014

PPBF: Stand Straight, Ella Kate

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Stand Straight, Ella Kate
Stand Straight, Ella Kate,The True Story of A Real Giant
Written by Kate Klise
Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
Dial, 2010
  • Ages 4 - 9; level 4.6
word count 1040

Biography, Non-fiction, Differences

Most tall tales are made up.
But my tall tale is true.
I was a giant - a real, live giant.

The Klise girls have put together a fabulous non-fiction picture book about the life of the 8'4" Ella Kate Ewing. This narrative takes Ella Kate off the side-show stage and puts her instead on a list of remarkable American women. She is an unusual example of a strong woman who made the most of her circumstances, overcoming difficulties, and carving out the life she wanted despite what society might term as her handicap.

What I Love:
       I love a book about an unsung hero. Kate Klise weaves a story of a woman who defies exploitation, carving out the life she wanted. Sarah's illustrative style is a perfect match for the content. The endpapers are fun, too. They extend the story, squeezing in a few additional facts about Ella Kate including her shoe size and a drawing of her glove -- actual size!
       In addition, I think Ella Kate's story will resonate with kids. The book opens up the topics of bullying, diversity, handicaps. Kids may see themselves in the young Ella Kate, who doesn't seem to fit in.

Ella's custom made house in Missouri
From the Downing House Museum

1. Read about the real Ella Kate Ewing.
Thanks to Kelly for sharing her creative ideas!
2. Dig deeper into the lives of other real-life giants of the past.
3. Take a trip to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. See if you measure up to the footprints of basketball stars or the figure of a sumo wrestler.
4. Watch the National Geographic video on the science of gigantism.
5. View the world from a different height. Make stilts from a This Old House pattern, or a less traditional style found on Happy Whimsical Hearts.
6. Try using Pinterest to research clothing styles, houses, travel, advertising, and entertainment of the late 1800s. But you'd better plan an entire afternoon to do it!
7. Look for these books about daring women and other related Perfect Picture Books at your local library.

Reviewed by Clar
Reviewed by Danzel
From Sally's Bookshelf
Reviewed by Jarm

Reviewed by Wendy

Reviewed by Kristen

And one fictional heroine I couldn't resist:

From Busy Librarian

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for September 26, 2014, available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. I have not heard about Ella Kate before. What a brave and courageous woman. I agree that kids will resonate with her story. This is the perfect classroom discussion book. Great activities.

  2. Love Klise collaborations, but this one stuck with me, and the real story fascinates me still. Great pick!

    1. Thanks. I'm glad you had the chance to read it. I think the only other of their books I've read is the MG Letters From Camp. It's very silly!

  3. I have never heard of Kate before. I will have to check it (and her!) out.

    1. I suspect the author heard about Ella Ewing from local historians. Thanks for commenting.

  4. What a super and unusual biography. This will spark such great discussion with readers.

    1. I think it's an important part of our history which we cannot afford to ignore, even when it is not pretty. Thanks for your comments.

  5. Wow, what a fascinating story. Loved the cover, but more important the interesting strong woman who defied others to achieve what she wanted in life Must look up this one. Thanks, Joanne.

    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Thanks.

  6. Oh Wow! What a great story!! I think this would be a really good one for my book bag! I bet my reading buddies will find Ms Ella Kate to be quite fascinating! Thanks Ms Roberts!

    1. Wonderful! Let me know how all the kids at the library like this one.

  7. Wow! I have never even heard of Ella Kate before, Joanne! 8' 4" - that is tall - it must have been tough, especially for a woman. What an inspiring story for kids to read. I'd really like to read this one myself! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. It's a good thing clothes were tailored at that time. How else could she have gotten anything to fit?

  8. I need to find Ella Kate and Imogene's Last Stand. :)

    1. I especially love Nancy Carpenter's Imogene. 'Hope you do to!

  9. This sounds wonderful! And my library has it so I put it on hold! Can't wait to read it.

    1. Hooray! I hope it inspires you in your writing life! Thanks for stopping by.


Thank-you for taking time to share your thoughts!