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by Giles Andreae ; illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

Pub Date: June 1st, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-338-73427-0
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

What will Num-Num’s Elephant Name be?

Elephant tradition demands that every young elephant perform for Elephant Mighty to show they are best at something. Elephant Mighty, depicted in the illustrations as a tusked, enthroned bull with crown and ermine-trimmed robe, will then reward them with an Elephant Name. When Nina pulls a tree from the ground with her trunk, Elephant Mighty says, “Your trunk is so splendid and long! / I never imagined that tree would come loose. / I’m calling you ELEPHANT STRONG!” But Num-Num doesn’t have a talent. Though he tries a few tricks when forced to, the elephants laugh at him, and Elephant Mighty dubs him Elephant Nothing. Num-Num moves far away to his own watering hole, where, because he is such a sweet elephant, he makes a lot of new friends of many different species. When they hear his story, they’re shocked. The group treks back to tell Elephant Mighty how wrong he was. Num-Num tells a skeptical ruler that he wants to be Elephant Me. “I may not be noisy or tough, / But the hardest thing sometimes is just to be YOU, / And to know being YOU is ENOUGH.” Elephant Mighty has a surprising response, and everything ends with a dance. Andreae’s signature perky, rhymed verse (here set in abcb quatrains) pairs nicely with Parker-Rees’ sunny cartoon illustrations.

A bit too straightforward with its lesson, but this British import has both a heart and a spirited lead.

(Picture book. 3-8)