cover image Daddy, Could I Have an Elephant?

Daddy, Could I Have an Elephant?

Jack Wolf, Jake Wolf. Greenwillow Books, $15 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13294-1

The answer to the title question is, of course, no--but Tony's attentive father (there is no mother in this book) is too astute a parent to simply reject his son's request for an exotic pet outright. Instead, he helps his son think through the unsuitability of various animal companions. With some of the same zest for absurdity as the similarly themed What Use for a Moose? (reviewed below), Hafner's clever cartoon illustrations show how elephants are finally dismissed because there is no way to transport them to a third-floor walk-up (they get stuck in the window when movers try hoisting them like pianos); how a 20-foot python would take up too much of the furniture; how sheep would wake father and son at the crack of dawn (a minus even when one sheep appears willing to serve the family breakfast in bed); etc. Finally, Tony arrives at a solution that makes sense to both him and his father: a puppy (which, in defiance of the sensible planning advocated earlier, they rush out and purchase at a pet shop). The author and illustrator, who also worked together on And Then What?, play up each other's strengths. Wolf touchingly evokes the offhanded yet loving way in which fathers and sons interact, while Hafner's illustrations never forsake their appealing down-to-earth quality, even when depicting the most outrageous scenarios. Ages 4-up. (Aug.)