Dunrea's (the Gossie & Friends series) expressive watercolor-and-ink illustrations enhance this uncomplicated story about friendship by first-time authors Schwartz and Klein. The difference in size between Elephant and Mouse makes it difficult for them to use Mouse's favorite playground equipment together. When Elephant sits on the seesaw ("Hop! Plop!
"), Mouse goes flying ("Boom! Bop!
"), and even though Mouse eats an entire watermelon to make himself heavier, he still ends up in the air. Dunrea capitalizes on the story's cartoon action while the simple text includes plenty of verbs sprinkled across the pages in crayon-bright colors. When Elephant pushes Mouse on the swing ("Swing! Fling! Whiz! Ding!
"), Mouse resembles a flying trapeze artist as the swing rolls up like a window shade on the top bar. A dexterous use of line and luxurious white space focuses readers' attention on the intrepid characters; the artist also adds details that children will be sure to appreciate. For instance, Mouse and Elephant sit with their backs to each other and their eyes closed ("Mouse yawned. Elephant yawned") while a fly zooms dangerously close to the pachyderm's open mouth. Not until Elephant wisely decides to offer his trunk as a slide do the two enjoy themselves. "Now that
was fun," Mouse said. "Elephant, you are my favorite!" Although the theme of this undemanding story may be somewhat muddled, the companionship shared by the two friends comes through crystal-clear. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)