Errol and His Extraordinary Nose

David Conway, Author, Roberta Angaramo, Illustrator , illus. by Roberta Angaramo. Holiday House $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8234-2262-3

Errol the elephant has been written off by his classmates, and his chances of impressing anyone in the school talent competition are slim. But with encouragement from his dad and help from a book that explains just how remarkable elephants are, Errol puts together a boffo display of trunk skills and becomes the toast of the class. Unfortunately, Conway (Lila and the Secret of Rain ) tends to hector readers with life lessons (“Errol and his classmates discovered they shared the best talent of all... making friends”) and asks them to believe Errol has been heretofore clueless about his own trunk—which also raises the question of why Dad has waited so long to share vital anatomical information with his son. It's a testament to Angaramo's (The Ugly Duckling ) illustrations that these narrative lapses almost don't matter: Errol and his antagonists-turned-BFFs are exceptionally adorable. Angaramo elevates cuteness to an art with her dense, saturated colors, exuberant, sculptural shapes, and wide range of compositional choices. She conveys far more about personalities and emotional trajectories than does the text. Ages 2–6. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 03/01/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
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