cover image Young Mouse and Elephant

Young Mouse and Elephant

Pamela J. Farris. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-395-73977-8

A boastful mouse bridles when his grandfather suggests that Elephant might in fact be stronger than he, then sets off to confront the great beast, vowing to ""break Elephant apart and stomp her to bits."" A series of coincidences involving an approaching storm and the various animals Young Mouse encounters only bolsters his bravado (e.g., lightning flashes as he brags to a zebra, who exclaims, ""The small mouse made the sky break into pieces!""). On the other hand, when Elephant dismisses the mouse with a blast of water from her trunk, the clueless braggart chalks it up to the weather (""Hump! The storm must have washed Elephant away""). First-time author Farris, a professor of children's literature, ably retells this folktale, while Gorbachev's limber, understated illustrations, rendered in the sun-parched shades of the savanna, give the story's comic elements plenty of play. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)