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Ellie's Paris Adventure Review by Lori Hooten

Molly Totoro
MollyTotoro, Author

Adventure cannot be daring enough for Ellie, the title character of Ellie's Paris Adventure, by Molly Totoro. She is adventure to the core. What she isn't excited about is art class. One misadventure after another in art class leaves her dreading the upcoming test and having a difficult time studying. Falling asleep while studying the masterpieces for the test is the last thing she needs. Or is it?

When 12-year-old Ellie awakes, she finds herself in a strange place. Quickly enough, she realizes that she is the model for Mary Cassatt's painting Little Girl in a Blue Armchair. She slips easily into her role and makes friends with Batty, Mary's little dog. When the dog escapes, Ellie must find him and crisscrosses Paris in search of Batty with the help of Jacques, a neighbor.

All over Paris, Ellie finds herself seeing the setting of famous paintings that were done by Impressionist painters. One by one, she crosses paths with famous landmarks, some before they even were built. And slowly, she learns to love the history of art, paintings, and the creativity, finding it over and over in her adventure.

This is a fun “sleep adventure.” While I don't know what they are truly called, the story in Ellie's Paris Adventure happens during her sleep. It is a fun, simple way for readers to be exposed to a lot of art from the Impressionist period and some history of Paris. The start of each chapter in the book features a black and white painting reproduction with the name of the painting, the artist and date, and the gallery where it is located, giving a fun little preview hint for the upcoming chapter.

Ellie's Paris Adventure is a chapter book appropriate for upper elementary and young middle school students but would also work very well as a family read-aloud book. At 150 pages, it is not a very long book, but it is packed full of story. This is the first volume of a planned series titled Travel Through Art. With lots of adventure, art and history mixed together, there is something for everyone in this tale.

—Product review by Lori Hooten, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2018