My niece and nephew were both very captivated by this book. They sat quietly and listened as I read (that's rare), and they absorbed all that was going on. I don't know that my nephew quite understood what was happening in this story, but he certainly enjoyed the pictures and took them in. He insisted that Ella was a boy, however, so he was trying to figure out why "he" was wearing a dress. Once a three year old's mind is made up, that's it. We just had to work around that.
My niece informed me that she really enjoyed this book, and thought that it was a good one. At the end I did ask her what Ella's talent was, and she didn't know. We went through and looked at the pictures again to see if we could figure it out, but again, Ella's special skills eluded her. Once I explained that Ella's talent was managing the show and making sure that it went well, of course she understood, and was better able to appreciate the story, but the point did not readily jump out at her.
Still, this is a good story that I think many school-aged children will be able to identify with. I liked the message, and I thought the pictures were nicely done as well. And despite *some* people's opinions, Ella's dress was lovely, whether she's a girl or a boy!