cover image Emily's Own Elephant

Emily's Own Elephant

Philippa Pearce. Greenwillow Books, $12.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-07678-8

Emily, her mother and her father live in a small house in the corner of a large meadow. A river runs along the meadow, which has many huge trees and an unused shed in it. One day, Emily and her mother visit the London Zoo. They see all the animals that Emily likes best. They also go to the Children's Zoo, where they come to a special enclosure for a baby elephant. The elephant, named Jumbo, is the nicest Emily has ever seen. But the zoo keeper is worried: Jumbo simply will not grow, and the zoo can't keep him. As Emily's mother tries to rush her out, Emily thinks about how nicely their meadow, shed and river would suit the animal, and her mother agrees that the suggestion is a splendid one. Pearce ( Tom's Midnight Garden , The Way to Sattinstet Shore ) has written a matter-of-fact tale about a highly improbable situation. The simplicity of the text has been achieved with care; Pearce's story is dense with necessary details but remains sparingly told. Ink-and-watercolor illustrations are delightfully realistic and as direct as the text. Together they create a warm story with a unique magic. Ages 5-up. (August)