Louis’ class report on his favorite pet surprises everyone.
Enthusiastically launching his presentation on Mammuthus rockus, the rock mammoth, Louis provides background on prehistoric mammoths, digressing to the Icelandic researcher Voïvoden Mamouten, who discovered the species. Telling his classmates rock mammoths disappeared mysteriously, he goes into a lengthy definition of what constitutes a mystery and a hypothesis, frustrating his teacher, who urges him to get back to his report. Louis then reviews various hypotheses on why rock mammoths disappeared, culminating with his own that they simply went into hiding. Explaining he’s read every library book on mammoths and including a selected bibliography, Louis describes in detail his scientific expedition in search of a rock mammoth. Recess comes and goes, with the class amazed and teacher incredulous. When Louis finally announces his discovery, the teacher demands proof. Does Louis have a real rock mammoth or just a great imagination? While the amusing text offers scientific data about mammoths as well as a playful introduction to the scientific method, Mammuthus rockus appears to be a phantom species. Using the format of a school notebook containing Louis’ hilarious marginal notes and diagrams reinforces the classroom venue and enhances the comic visual presentation of unflappable Louis and his very cool rock mammoth.
Whimsical, imaginative, and highly entertaining. (Fiction. 7-10)