An adoring otter longs to become an elephant.
Randal lounges on a large rock with his pal Clive, marveling at the majesty of the elephants. Clive is not so impressed, but he listens patiently. When Clive suggests that Randal become one, Randal decides to follow his dream. Randal tells the other otters of his plan and goes to live with the elephants. Randal sends Clive a series of letters, talking optimistically about his new life. The elephants, he reports, play a game with him in which they pretend not to notice him. “It’s hilarious!” Enclosed snapshots make clear the elephants’ total disregard for the eager otter. The other otters decide to visit him, addressing the elephant they feel has “a very Randal quality”; it just looks nonplussed. When they return home, they’re surprised to find Randal there, looking very much like an otter. He explains that being an elephant was “kinda cool, but not as great as he thought it would be.” The next day, Randal and Clive are lounging on their large rock, watching the giraffes. Randal wonders….Gavin’s simple story should be a reminder to children to dive in and explore life. Her lovely illustrations combine realistic depictions of animals with soft colorful backgrounds that suggest watercolors, using body language and posture rather than aggressive anthropomorphization to develop her characters visually. A two-page appendix offers interesting facts about elephants and otters.
A sweet, funny exhortation to dream big. (Picture book. 3-6)