My Name Is Elizabeth!
written by Annika Dunklee
illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
My Name Is Elizabeth! doesn't look like a graphic novel. It looks like a picture book, with its square format and slightly retro two-color style. Open it up, though, and the characters' words come out in balloons rather than floating on the page. And that makes all the difference.
Elizabeth is a little girl who loves her name. She loves that it has nine letters, she loves the way her mouth feels when she says it, and she loves having the same name as a queen. What she doesn't love is people calling her other names. We see Elizabeth going about her day—having breakfast, walking to school—constantly correcting people who want to call her silly names like Beth or Lizzy. Finally, she stands up tall and tells the world "My NAME is ELIZABETH Alfreda Roxanne Carmelita Bluebell Jones!!"
Everyone stops dead in their tracks.
"But you may call me Elizabeth," she says, more calmly, and everyone gets it right after that.
Elizabeth is one of those self-confident little girls one runs across so often in children's literature. She has a lot to say and she stands her ground, and her slowly building exasperation is part of the fun of this book.
My Name Is Elizabeth! is a great book for early readers or for read-aloud. The vocabulary is limited, with lots of repetition, and most pages have just one or two word balloons. More important, there is no text outside the word balloons; every word in this book is spoken by someone. That makes it easier to read aloud, because the sequence is obvious. Matthew Forsythe's drawings are filled with fun little details, such as Elizabeth's haughty pet duck, that make this book a delight to read.