GRANDMA ELEPHANT'S IN CHARGE

Martin Jenkins, Author, Ivan Bates, Illustrator , illus. by Ivan Bates. Candlewick $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-2074-5

Conservation biologist Jenkins (Chameleons Are Cool ) takes readers on safari into the world of African elephants with this blending of factual text and playful, at times soulful illustrations. Bates's (One Dark Night) watercolor washes feature elephants so expressive they sometimes seem to be smiling. His pencil strokes convey a sense of earth-shaking movement as the biggest land mammals make their way across the spreads, as well as a sense of intelligence behind the eyes. Enlarged, conversational text relays information about "the most important member of an elephant family"—the pachyderm grandmother ("Grandma's been around a long time and she knows lots of important things. She knows where the water holes are when it hasn't rained and the easiest places to cross the big river when it has rained"). Meanwhile, smaller bold typeface relates more straightforward elephant facts about life span, diet, etc. (e.g., "Adults eat about 1½ tons of food each day"). This inviting nonfiction primer starring the matriarch of the elephant herd maintains a story-like appeal for young audiences as it delivers intriguing information. Ages 5-up. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 07/14/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Glued - 29 pages - 978-0-606-08056-9
Paperback - 29 pages - 978-0-7636-3285-4
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