cover image Elecopter


Michael Slack. Holt/Ottaviano, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9304-9

Slack reprises the formula he used in 2011’s Monkey Truck to equally raucous effect, creating a hybrid elephant/helicopter who patrols the savannah. Giggle-inducing humor and nail-biting action are also part of the equation: “Whatever her mission, she always succeeds,” writes Slack as Elecopter prevents a bushy-maned lion from walking off a cliff, then gives him a dapper new ’do with her propeller blades. Elecopter’s bright coloring, long eyelashes, and propensity for flight may call to mind Dumbo, yet this flying elephant proves that her bravery is second to none. In the story’s tensest sequence, Elecopter rescues a group of animals from wildfire: “Flying into danger, she’s first on the scene/ to airlift a rhino from a rocky ravine.” She also escorts to safety a cheetah, a passel of baboons, and a giraffe, and, best of all, she works for peanuts. Rendered in a palette of neon blues, yellows, and magentas, Slack’s manic digital collages are not unlike a vintage Golden Book on LSD—in other words, just right for this oddball conceit. Ages 2–5. Agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Sept.)