A somewhat lackluster lesson in paying it forward.



In this children’s picture book, a boy who loves elephants discovers that they never forget.

After his mother reads him a zoo-animal book, Alex, a blond-haired white boy, wants very much to see real-life elephants. The next day, she takes him to the zoo. At the elephant enclosure, Alex discovers that a baby elephant has gotten its ear caught in a gate. He shakes the gate, and the elephant frees himself, although its ear gets torn with a triangular notch. Alex’s mother tells her son that his kindness will one day be rewarded. Years later, grown-up Alex takes his daughter, Lauren, to the zoo. She accidentally falls into the elephant exhibit, but she’s rescued by an adult elephant with a notched ear. In her debut, Ahrenholz tells a straightforward story of a favor given and returned. There may be better reasons to treat animals well, other than hoping to be rewarded, but young readers will find satisfaction in seeing Alex’s mother proved right. That said, readers don’t get much sense of why Alex finds elephants so enthralling other than that “they used their trunks to do everything.” Similarly, Lauren’s fall into the exhibit has little sense of real danger. Keys’ illustrations of humans are stiff, but the animals have more verve and expression.

A somewhat lackluster lesson in paying it forward.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5043-4581-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2018

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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