Once Henrietta the elephant’s quiet is interrupted, there may be no going back to being satisfied with solitude.
Henrietta’s a classic introvert. She loves her Darjeeling and the morning paper. She loves swimming below the noisy geese at the lake and savoring the peace underwater. But one day, the elephant gets “a little too lost” in her thoughts, and she bonks her head on a piling. She bandages the “goose egg” she feels on her head with her trunk. (In-the-know listeners will be screaming with delight.) Henrietta’s brought up short when her egg hatches and she finds herself a “Mama!” When she is unable to return the imprinted baby to the nest, Henrietta takes her in, but her peace and solitude are shattered, and that only worsens as Goose grows. Finally, the clever elephant uses a brush and paint to transform her head into a mama goose, and she teaches the bird all she needs to know about being a goose. Goose flies off in the fall, but Henrietta’s quiet is now emptiness…until Goose returns with goslings of her own. Wong’s watercolor, colored pencil, gouache, and Photoshop illustrations are delightfully spare, keeping the focus on the expressive elephant and her dilemma. Henrietta is the only character with personality; Goose (and her goslings) is merely cute. While a sweet tale, it carries with it the rather overbearing assumption that introverts are, unbeknownst to them, probably actually lonely.
Adoptees may appreciate the message; introverts may want to look elsewhere. (Picture book. 3-7)