Poor Elephant. Every time that Leopard, Monkey, and Zebra want to play a new game, Elephant says “Oh, no, I’m not good at that.” But he tries anyway.
For hide-and-seek, he’s too big. For leap-frog, he’s too tall. For jumping rope, he’s too clumsy. For hopscotch, he’s too heavy. For tag, he’s too slow. Each time the good-hearted, amiable Elephant tries his best, but he just can’t do it. Finally, it’s his turn to choose a game, and tug of war is just his specialty—because he’s too strong! Now it’s the animals’ turn to say, “Oh, no.” By itself, the story would work just fine, with its easy repetition and patterning, but it’s the large trim size, saturated colors, and comical details that enliven it and make it pop. Leopard and Zebra are clothed, and Elephant sports a plaid bow tie and pants. The facial expressions tell the whole story of what happens with each effort. The use of page space smartly plays up the differences in the sizes of the animals.
Kids will giggle over Elephant’s attempts to play and cheer when he finally triumphs. The underlying message reassures without being apparent. (Picture book. 3-7)