Callista Gingrich's 'Ellis the Elephant' Turns 3

Ellis encounters war for the first time.

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Callista Gingrich reads her book "Sweet Land of Liberty" to children in Olympia, Wash., with  "Ellis the Elephant," a character in the book, on Feb. 24, 2012.
Callista Gingrich's latest children's book, "Yankee Doodle Dandy," features "Ellis the Elephant" experiencing the American Revolution.

While her husband has started a new chapter at CNN's "Crossfire," wife Callista Gingrich is continuing down a path that she started three years ago. On Oct. 7 she put out her third children's book, entitled "Yankee Doodle Dandy," which stars her "time traveling pachyderm" Ellis the Elephant.

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This time around, Ellis experiences the American Revolution, and (briefly) sees battle for the first time.

"Ellis can't look terrified, there's a very careful line," Gingrich says, explaining how she and illustrator Susan Arciero carefully crafted the elephant's expression during, for example, the scene when the cartoon encounters the shot heard round the world.

"His expression is one of a little desperation, but he won't look terrified and he can't be too happy obviously –we need to make it palatable to small children," Gingrich says.

The series is aimed at early readers, ages 4-8, and Gingrich makes sure strong female characters are included in the storylines. In "Yankee Doodle Dandy," Ellis meets Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Betsy Ross and Molly Pitcher, who took over her husband's cannon once he was shot dead.

"We did include a lot of girl power in this book," she told Whispers. "I think all the patriots were very important role models and I think young girls need to see that women played as important a role as men in the creation of our nation."

Gingrich also touts the books as nonpartisan.

"They're not meant to be Republican books or conservative books, but rather pro-American books," she said. Gingrich began writing them because she was concerned that kids weren't learning their United States history. Her first book served as an overview of U.S. history, while the second focused on the pilgrims.

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And Gingrich has plans for Ellis beyond the American Revolution. She plans to write a fourth book focused on the early years of the republic that includes the Lewis and Clark expedition. "The book will be called, 'From Sea to Shining Sea,'" she said. "And in my fifth book we are tentatively planning on writing about the War of 1812 and I will call that, 'O Say Can You See.'" (All of her book titles come from lines of patriotic songs.)

As for whether Ellis the Elephant would ever be made into a movie, Gingrich said perhaps down the road, but it isn't something she's working on quite yet. As for who would play him, she shrugs. "I would really need to put some thought into that," Gingrich said. "I would think more of a masculine voice –Ellis is definitely a masculine figure."

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