cover image Cora and the Elephant: 9

Cora and the Elephant: 9

Lissa Rovetch. Viking Children's Books, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84335-0

After telling their adopted daughter Cora how they found her in her infancy, washed ashore, Edward and Ophelia-who, unlike Cora, are elephants-promise to pursue their sole clue to her origins: a life-preserver tag labeled ""Pier 38, San Francisco."" Cora becomes obsessed with discovering where she came from. But after a hard-earned trip from their African watering hole to San Francisco, girl and elephants learn that ``Pier 38'' is a life-preserver factory. Rovetch (Trigwater Did It) says merely that Cora is ""sad and disappointed"" before launching into her heroine's pleasure in a protracted stay with the factory owner and his wife. The point of this scattershot story is unclear: why raise the question of Cora's parentage only to drop it? In what seems an effort to allay the anxieties raised by the plot, the illustrations are uniformly sunny and bright, and Edward and Ophelia, rotund, cuddly and thoroughly anthropomorphized, bear more than a passing resemblance to Babar and his friends. Ages 3-8. (Apr.)