cover image 17 Kings and 42 Elephants

17 Kings and 42 Elephants

Margaret Mahy. Dial Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0458-9

Mahy's jocund verse, first published 15 years ago, has been dressed in colorful new clothes. MacCarthy's vivid batik paintings on silk gleam like the eyes of the ""white toothed crocodiles'' or the sleek stripes of the magnificent tigers. The story is simple: 17 kings sing and dance their way through the jungle on the backs of 42 elephants until the ``deep dark jungle'' swallows them. Their mysterious destination is not as important as their obvious joy in the journey; the characters are not asimportant as the rollicking language. Like Vachel Lindsay, Mahy has penned a foot-stomping poem; it sways like the backs of the elephants past peacocks, pelicans, hippopotomums and other ``watchers in the jungle, moist and mistalline'' that ``bibble-bubble-babble to the bad break herebing-bang-bong!'' Ages 4-8. (September)