My Elephant

Petr Horacek, Author, Petr Horacek, Illustrator . Candlewick $14.99 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7636-4566-3

With distinctive childlike artwork and language that telegraph a range of strong childhood emotions, from glee to hurt to contentedness, Horácek (Silly Suzy Goose ) envisions a boy’s adventures with an imaginary elephant. Both the story and the mixed-media illustrations focus on the essentials, but each picture is splashed large on the white pages. The elephant’s hide is made of wild scribbles (to an appropriately leathery effect) and even the boy’s bed features a striking blue and white stripe design. After the boy blames each of his mistakes on the elephant, he is surprised to find his grandparents willing to play along (to an extent): “And was it your elephant who knocked over the orange juice?” his grandmother asks. The boy’s indulgent grandparents are portrayed as quaintly old-fashioned—the grandmother has her gray hair in a bun and wears a polka-dot housedress. But even when they are gently reprimanding the boy for messing up the flower bed or eating the cupcakes, their faces beam with love, and the tone of the book is sweetly reassuring. Ages 3–up. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 11/09/2009
Release date: 11/01/2009
Genre: Children's
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