cover image I've Got an Elephant

I've Got an Elephant

Anne Ginkel, , illus by Janie Bynum. . Peachtree, $16.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-1-56145-373-3

The towheaded narrator of this rhyming counting tale announces, "Though other kids have teddy bears to cuddle up tight,/ I've got an elephant to hug me every night." There's just one catch: elephants—at least as comically envisioned here—are social animals in the extreme. When the girl goes off to school, her elephant "gets lonely and then/ He goes out and brings home an elephant friend." And one elephant friend isn't enough—every time the girl leaves home, the remaining elephants recruit a new pachyderm to share in the joys of domesticity. The situation is not without its advantages: with eight elephants in the house, everyone can "gather round the table for a royal English tea,/ Sipping from their teacups and having fun with me." But when the elephant population grows to 10, the girl wisely decides to relocate them to the zoo. Debuting author (and former children's bookstore owner) Ginkel keeps her rhymes simple and catchy, while Bynum (Altoona Baboona ) uses chipper watercolors to dress up the pachyderms in silly outfits (including Superman pajamas and tutus) and place them in unlikely situations (sledding, going to scary movies). Preschoolers will likely enjoy the accumulation of affectionate elephants, the improbability of their behavior and the self-assurance of the plucky narrator. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)