Campy pastel illustrations with the fluidity of graffiti art give this book a certain punch, but the story itself lacks staying power. A girl and her mother happen upon a circus truck at the doors of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. (The uninitiated may wonder what the Waldorf actually is, for although Miranda refers midway through to ``the Waldorf hotel,'' she doesn't account for the carnival's presence there.) Inside the truck is an elephant that-despite the best efforts of a ringmaster, acrobats, and magicians-won't enter the hotel. Ultimately, an elephant trainer's young son politely asks the elephant to move, whereupon, naturally, the animal complies. First-time children's illustrator Vanderbeek's splashy drawings-with their fuchsia and electric-blue highlights against hot greens and purples-seem to belong on animation cels. People are rendered as empty-headed caricatures, and vast New York skylines take on lush yellow and orange hues. The overly vertical, sans-serif typeface, however, intrudes somewhat on the wacky artwork. And despite Miranda's attempts to enliven the text-by rhyming ``euphoria'' and ``Astoria,'' for instance-her tale amounts to a pallid lesson in manners. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994 Release date: 03/01/1994 Genre: Children's
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