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ELEPHANTASTIC by Michael Engler


by Michael Engler ; illustrated by Jöelle Tourlonias ; translated by Ann Garlid

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-4413-0841-2
Publisher: Peter Pauper Press

Inattention results in a potential domestic tragedy in this German import.

Andrew is so busy drawing a treasure map, he really does not hear what Mommy says about delivering the package in the hall to their upstairs neighbors. So when he finally gets to the package, he figures it is for him and opens it. It’s a large stuffed elephant! Its name is Timbo, and it speaks to him! They immediately go on many adventures: climbing mountains, hiking through jungles and dancing in the valleys. This is all illustrated in double-page, full-bleed spreads in which the furniture and artifacts in Andrew’s home transmute themselves into mountains and jungles and valleys, just as they do in children’s play everywhere. When Mommy finds Andrew, she tells him gently that the package was meant for Louise upstairs. Louise is delighted to get her present, but Andrew is heartbroken to leave Timbo behind. His melancholy is solved very neatly when a barefoot Louise comes downstairs to announce that Timbo misses Andrew, and the three have adventures together. Browns and golds dominate the pictures, and children and elephant have button-dot eyes and, for the children, comma noses. Perhaps in keeping with this aesthetic, the faux–hand-lettered type is, unfortunately, small. The household is as much a character as the stuffie and kids, its cozy accoutrements overlaid with Andrew’s (and Timbo’s) imaginations.

A sweet celebration of the imagination.

(Picture book. 5-8)