cover image Little Elliot, Big Family

Little Elliot, Big Family

Mike Curato. Holt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9826-6

Little Elliot, the polka-dotted elephant who debuted last year (along with his creator) in Little Elliot, Big City, is now living with his pal Mouse. He seems to have licked his loneliness problem, but when Mouse leaves for a family reunion (Mouse estimates he has “15 brothers, 19 sisters, 25 aunts, 27 uncles, and 147 cousins”), Elliot wanders the city and realizes that he has a new reason to be sad: everyone has a family but him. Curato pulls out all the stops as his sensitive hero’s funk deepens, first taking Elliot to the docks for some disconsolate gazing, then to an empty movie palace where Elliot cries his way through a film about a happy elephant family. Luckily, Mouse reappears in the nick of time, and Elliot finds himself adopted by a family that’s the definition of extended. Curato fleshes out Little Elliot’s personality in this installment—there are glimmers of a character with real depth beneath his cutie-pie visage—while continuing to come up with wonderful, Hopperesque images of a bygone New York. Ages 4–8. Agent: Brenda Bowen, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.)