What a delight--a picture-book collaboration in the best sense of the term from an author and artist from the Netherlands. In a wonderful text, de Vries (Bruises, p. 445) seems to offer Walraven full freedom to express the ideas between the lines. ""My elephant can do almost anything. He can stand on a wobbly stool, and he can balance on a balloon."" Across from these words appears a flat, scrawled elephant, colored red-orange--a stuffed animal? An imaginary friend? This basic figure, in a variety of colors and painted disguises, balances on that balloon, and later a coffeepot, tries on hats, and, ultimately, rushes to meet the narrator ""when I come home again . . . because there's one thing my elephant can't do . . . he can't do without me!"" The pictures drive the book, while the text provides a narrative thread full of charming ideas and asides. With appeal for very young children, this is a fine example of a book done simply and well. It's hard not to hope for more from de Vries and Walraven.
Pub Date: April 1, 1996
Page Count: 40
Publisher: "Lemniscaat/Front Street (P.O. Box 280, Arden, NC 28704)"