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WHAT ELEPHANT? by Geneviève Côté


by Geneviève Côté & illustrated by Geneviève Côté

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-55337-875-X
Publisher: Kids Can

Côté turns the common expression about “ignoring the elephant in the room” into an “Emperor’s New Clothes” sort of tale. A young gent named George unhappily goes about coping with the huge pachyderm that has appeared in his house because his neighbors think he’s deranged when he tries to tell them it’s there. Then, when they see it too, they keep quiet for fear of being thought loopy themselves. Wielding a black crayon with expressive fluency and adding thin washes of color, the author creates tongue-in-cheek scenes of the huge, rotund “guest” cheerily crushing furniture, flooding the house at bathtime and clearing out the kitchen cabinets, as George and his friends stand by with averted eyes. The part of the clear-eyed child in Andersen is played by the elephant’s keeper, who rushes in at last to lead it back to the circus. Have George and company learned their lesson? Not to judge from their “Who? Me?” reaction to the pink poodle that then strolls in, carrying a suitcase. Children not yet up to thinking in metaphors may need some explanation, but the theme is certainly worth exploring, as there are always “elephants” around. (Picture book. 6-8)