cover image How to Find an Elephant

How to Find an Elephant

Kate Banks, illus. by Boris Kulikov. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $16.99 (32p) IS

It’s a gray and slightly rainy day—what better time to go looking for an elephant? The pith-helmeted backyard explorer created by longtime collaborators Banks and Kulikov (the Max series) doesn’t encounter his quarry until the final pages, but the elephant is not nearly as elusive as the boy thinks it is: readers can spot the grinning creature throughout, whimsically camouflaged into lush paintings that blend fantasy and reality. As the second-person guidebook-style language offers pro tips (“The first thing you will want to do is climb to the top of the nearest tree”) and salient points (“Don’t forget elephants are fine swimmers”), there are false alarms (a rhino looks a lot like an elephant), wild adventures (a monkey takes the boy for a swing), and many lovely, graceful moments. In one spread, readers see the world through a pair of rain-dotted binoculars; in another, the boy and several animals walk on tiptoe while the elephant, hidden by trees, does the same. Forget about the elephant in the room—the one in your imagination is a lot more fun. Ages 3–6. Author’s agent: Rick Margolis, Rising Bear Literary. (Nov.)