cover image Elephant in the Dark: Based on a Poem by Rumi

Elephant in the Dark: Based on a Poem by Rumi

Mina Javaherbin, illus. by Eugene Yelchin. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-63670-4

Inspired by a Rumi poem based on the parable of “The Blind Men and the Elephant,” Javaherbin offers a lively take on a classic story about the folly of a limited perspective. When a merchant named Ahmad brings a “mysterious creature” (an elephant) home and stores the animal in his barn, the villagers sneak in and attempt to identify it. One man, after touching the elephant’s legs, declares that the animal is “round and tall, like a tree trunk!” Another, feeling its tail, reports that it is “skinny and hairy, like a paintbrush!” Taking cues from Persian miniatures, Yelchin creates a rowdy, bickering cast of villagers in turbans and vividly patterned garments, successfully playing up the story’s comedic clashes. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Abigail Samoun, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)