Two anthropomorphized elephants play pretend in three minichapters.
“Wee-ooo! Wee-ooo!” Wendel, a toddler-sized elephant, wields his toy firetruck’s hose and knocks down his big sister’s building-block creations. Maggie’s angry, but noticing that her anger distresses him, she calls out for help—inviting firefighter Wendel to save the day. Where the living room had a blank white background, the fantasy firefighting scene has a black background, a brick building, rising flames, and water gushing from the hose. Doerrfeld uses the same thick-lined drawings in the real-world settings and the imagination settings, but in the fantasy scenes, the backgrounds are dark, simultaneously more ominous and more whimsical than the real world, and more colors appear. In the second story, pet-shop proprietor Maggie tries to satisfy picky customer Wendel; both the chosen pet and the rejected ones come to amusing, expressive life in the fantasy scene. The third story begins in a fantasy setting: Maggie’s rescuing Wendel from a cave-prison, in some sort of jungle with a red ocean. Suddenly the scene toggles back to their real-life dining room and living room, where their mom’s observing the havoc wreaked by the game. Will she scold? Nope—she sets sail with them in their steampunk water-to-air ship. Text is minimal throughout, and even speech bubbles sometimes contain symbols (a dollar sign; a sea monster) rather than words.
A playful addition to the siblings-at-play shelf. (Picture book. 2-5)