C. M. Rubin, Author, Cathy Rubin, Author, Christopher Fowler, Illustrator , illus. by Christopher Fowler. McGraw-Hill/Gingham Dog $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-57768-412-1

It's bad enough that Eleanor's name inspires her family to flights of nicknaming (her mother is the extreme case, with such sobriquets as "Ellatony, my Little Elbow Macaroni!"). To make matters worse, every nickname seems freighted with the bestower's idea of who Eleanor should be. Her father, for example, dubs her Eleanora: "It's grand with so much mora./ My Eleanora will go far,/ a singer and a movie star." But Eleanor doesn't buy into the fantasy, imagining herself an overworked celebrity (an illustration shows her collapsed in her limo, a juice box at her side). After some wise counsel from her Great Aunt Bertie (who knows whereof she speaks—her name is actually an acronym for "Begonia Eucalyptus Rose Tulip Iris Evergreen"), Eleanor proclaims to her startled family, "There is a girl I want to be./ And there's a name/ that's right for me." Her choice: "Ellie." While Fowler gives Ellie freckled-face spunk, overall his watercolor-and-ink caricatures take on a flat, commercial look. Rubin, in her first book for children, fares better; though some of the rhymes may be forced, they are rollicking, and she stays in firm control of the narrative's momentum. A comic take on identity issues. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 06/30/2003
Release date: 08/01/2003
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