LITTLE WHY by Jonny Lambert


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 6
Email this review


A small and wandering elephant finds out why it’s a good idea to stay in line with its bigger kin.

Not even knee-high to the grown elephants—portrayed, in Lambert’s mottled tissue-collage illustrations, as towering well beyond the page tops—frisky Little Why is continually distracted by other animals. Like many a toddler, what this elephant’s child sees becomes instantly desirable. But requests for “spiny-spiky special horns” like the wildebeest’s, the giraffe’s “long-lofty leggy legs,” and the cheetah’s “speedy-spotty, fuzzy fur” all get the same stern response when the child’s excitement causes a halt in the elephant parade’s progress: “Stay in line!” Then, drawn to admire a crocodile’s “snippy-snappy snazzy snout,” (shades of that more-renowned elephant’s child), Little Why very nearly comes to grief. At last the herd arrives at a watering hole, where a parental pachyderm descends into view to point out what the sulky calf does have (“a super-squirty trunk”) and explain that “you’re special just the way you are!” In addition to echoing Kipling’s plot, Lambert seems to be consciously emulating its language, at least a little: “At the back and in-between the Elders, Little Why walked in line… / …well almost!” And “almost” is about as close as he gets.

Bright and reassuring…and if Kipling’s wordplay is better, at least there’s no spanking here. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-68010-010-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Tiger Tales
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2016


ChildrenTHE GREAT AAA-OOO! by Jonny Lambert
by Jonny Lambert
ChildrenI LOVE YOU MORE AND MORE by Nicky Benson
by Nicky Benson


ChildrenLITTLE ELEPHANT by Miela Ford
by Miela Ford
ChildrenYOU ARE SPECIAL, LITTLE ONE by Nancy Tafuri
by Nancy Tafuri