cover image The Thingamabob

The Thingamabob

Il Sung Na, Author . Knopf $15.99 (24p) ISBN 978-0-375-86106-2

Splayed flat on the ground, ears outstretched, a young elephant ponders a long, pointed object with a curved handle. “He had no idea what the thingamabob was or where it came from.” Young readers will know, though—it’s an umbrella! Four tiny vignettes show the elephant playing with the red umbrella the way a kitten might play with a paper bag, lifting it high with his trunk, then burying his whole head in it. He tries out the umbrella as a parachute, then as a boat. “Maybe I can sail in it?” he ventures; he sinks instantly: “Maybe not.” Na’s (A Book of Sleep ) elephant, despite his size, is delicate as a china plate. He has fetching eyelashes, rosy cheeks, and fine curlicue decorations that add to his charm. His umbrella experiments take place against a placid but complex backdrop of paper textures and paint surfaces; his friends (unhelpful in the ID department) are also delicately decorated with slender lines. A sudden rainfall solves the problem in this celebration of curiosity and perception. Ages 2–5. (Mar.)