Books by Norman Gorbaty

HOW THE ELEPHANT GOT ITS TRUNK by Jean Richards
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2003

A cheerful, curious, small-nosed young elephant's quest to find out what crocodiles have for dinner leads her down to the river, where she finds out with terrifying immediacy that crocs like to eat young elephants, starting by grabbing their noses. She earns her trunk as she pulls backwards until the croc finally gives up, only to realize that her heretofore small nose has been stretched out. At first she doesn't like her new appendage, but then realizes how useful it can be: she can wave to all her friends in the jungle, pull bananas off trees, and douse herself with mud and water when she needs to cool off. The other elephants admire her trunk so much that they go to the river to have their noses stretched by the crocodile. Realistic details about the uses of an elephant's trunk blend intriguingly with imaginary elements, the combination wryly expressed by the answer and question at the end of the story: "And that is why elephants have trunks today. At least that is the story. Do you believe it?" The printer's ink used in the stenciled illustrations provides especially rich, bright, textured colors that show up crisply against alternating backgrounds of clean white and solid black. The blocky, wood-cut look of the elephants, trees, and other forest denizens is deceptively simple; the mien of each of the animals aptly conveyed through facial expressions. The young, light-blue elephant is particularly appealing in her naïveté. Curious youngsters will appreciate this version of Kipling's pourquoi tale. (Picture book. 4-8)Read full book review >
EARTHDANCE by Joanne Ryder
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1996

Ryder (My Father's Hands, 1994, etc.) addresses readers in the second person, beckoning them to join in a cosmic appreciation of the earth and all it holds. Simple verse shot through with sensory and physical images invite children to imagine themselves as the globe, twirling through nights, days, summer, and winter. Text and art boldly converge in a series of invocations: ``Wiggle your shoulders and mountains tremble and quake'' and ``Shake your hair and feel windswept grasses tickle your face.'' An innovative book design incorporates the text into Gorbaty's brightly colored paintings, which at first feature one or two images but quickly build into chaotic, celebratory scenes of life on earth. Powerful, pulsing graphics and a valuable, almost incantatory, message. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >