cover image Ollie the Purple Elephant

Ollie the Purple Elephant

Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Knopf, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86654-8

With bright, friendly acrylic art that recalls Krosoczka’s earlier work—such as his My Buddy, Slug (2006), another story of an unusual pet—the author offers a fast-paced and surreal tale with twists aplenty. After Mr. McLaughlin makes good on a silly promise that comes back to bite him (“that should they ever come across a purple elephant, they could keep him”), the McLaughlin family makes room for Ollie, whom they meet in a park. Good times and floor-shaking dance parties follow, upsetting the family cat and the downstairs neighbor, who collude to remove the unwanted pachyderm. After the cat persuades Ollie that he is unwanted, a sad year passes as the McLaughlins search for Ollie, who has joined a circus. Krosoczka’s story feels tailor-made for story time, thanks to kid-pleasing plot elements (elephants! circuses! robbers!), emphatic prose (“Ollie needed to do something—and fast!”), and emotive art. And he certainly offers a fun, modern twist on happily ever after: the promise of “many dance parties” to come. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)