cover image How to Catch an Elephant

How to Catch an Elephant

DK Publishing, Amy Schwartz. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2579-9

Schwartz's (Old MacDonald Had a Farm) girl narrator, ardently in pursuit of a pachyderm, gives her audience some deceptively simple instructions for snaring one. The tools required for the catch, she explains, are few: three cakes, two raisins, one telescope and a pair of tweezers. Speaking breezily, the youngster then advises readers to ""ask your Uncle Jack to bring you to the place where elephants go."" Equally breezy unadorned gouache art depicts the girl carrying tiny tweezers and a large telescope as she follows her uncle--who balances a boxed cake on his head while gripping two others in his hands--to just the right spot. With playful repetition and shrewdly kid-targeted visual humor, the author chronicles the capturing of a temperamental, brightly hued yellow pachyderm. To offer a hint at the outcome without giving it away, the fellow loves raisins but hates cake--and becomes quite tiny when viewed through the wrong end of a telescope. Generous supplies of whimsy and understated humor turn out an engaging, outlandish how-to. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)