An elephant in love, it turns out, behaves an awful lot like a besotted human being.
“When an elephant falls in love, he writes letters that he’ll never send. / And he stares at the clouds for hours and hours.” As Cali’s simple, declarative text unfolds, symptom by symptom, Lotti’s equally witty multimedia illustrations depict a large, gray pachyderm acting them out. He is shaped like an upright brick balanced on four absurdly stumpy legs, trunk and tail depending from either end about midway up; he is mottled gray, with just a few lines to describe ears, toenails, and a wrinkle or two and ink-dot eyes. His bulk is played up in each illustration, as when he hides behind a tree that is far too slender to conceal him or tries out a “stylish” outfit with a tiny top hat perched on his forehead. He, an omnipresent yellow bird, and the few items necessary to set the scene appear on, usually, spacious white backgrounds, and this clean focus further heightens the foolishness. There is no doubt kids will be giggling, even though the narrative describes a romantic love that’s quite foreign to their own emotional development. Moreover, kids whose adult caregivers or older siblings are themselves in the throes of new love may recognize more than a few of these behaviors.
A wry exploration of the symptoms of falling in love. (Picture book. 4-8)