Elephant and Piggie introduce a beginning reader that’s a math lesson: how can three cookies be divided equally among four friends?
A hippo, a crocodile, and two squirrels really want to share, fairly, but getting there isn’t easy. Eventually, the hippo nervously breaks the cookies into six, and then 12 pieces—making the math work perfectly. Dividing three glasses of milk will be a whole different problem. The art looks little like Santat's Caldecott-winning The Adventures of Beekle (2014). It is lighter, cartoonish, and more cheerful than most of his work, matching the silliness of the slight story. The crocodile is endearing rather than threatening, and the hippo is a big, friendly purple one. The blue squirrel wears glasses, and the orange squirrel wears pigtails, denoting gender. Speech bubbles outlined in the same color as the character speaking make following the dialogue fairly easy, though side comments that will go over the heads of most beginning readers are distracting. The story relies on variations in font sizes to communicate excitement and drama. Over 100 words, mostly sight words, are used, with very few repeated more than once or twice, gearing this for readers with some practice behind them. Commentary from Elephant and Piggie that frames the story may sell the book to teachers or parents hungry for more from the popular brand.
In the end it’s a morality tale that may not be worth raiding the cookie jar for. (Early reader. 6-8)