A rabbit and a girl send away for a pachyderm friend.
Sophie, a white girl with blonde hair, and Herb, an extremely goofy rabbit, are eating breakfast one day when “Sophie noticed something on the cereal box.” A breakfast-foods company called Velveteen Valley claims that if a consumer redeems six box tops, they’ll send a free elephant. The friends get to work and mail the required materials, and soon a gigantic box with eyeholes shows up. During introductions, Sophie and Herb find out that it’s their responsibility to name their large gray friend. After a few false starts, readers learn that Herb is an old family name, and Sophie is named after a ballerina, so the elephant “remembered an elephant from long, long ago named Tony the Woolly,” so Tony it is. “The best part of having a name is making it your own,” remarks Sophie, and the trio rides off together on a bicycle built for three. With choppy page turns, unrelentingly upbeat dialogue, and an almost nonexistent conflict, this story is like the cereal the characters begin it eating: sweet, trying to appeal to both kids and the adults who have purchasing power, and extremely unsatisfying. The crude collage, ink, and gouache illustrations are fun but not enough to carry the bland plot and lukewarm message.
Extremely skippable. (Picture book. 3-6)