Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE MASTERWORK OF A PAINTING ELEPHANT by Michelle Cuevas

THE MASTERWORK OF A PAINTING ELEPHANT

By Michelle Cuevas (Author) , Ed Young (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-374-34854-0
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

A little boy and a nurturing elephant embark on a memorable search and find adventure, fame and the meaning of home.

Abandoned by his parents as a baby, Pigeon Jones is “a restless sort,” who crawls into a pile of leaves next to a car wash, where Birch, a kind-hearted, white elephant with a talent for painting, finds him. Birch adopts Pigeon and raises him on his back, where Pigeon sleeps, eats, plays and showers. Fiercely protective, Birch homeschools Pigeon until fifth grade, when Pigeon attends the local school from his perch atop Birch. On his 10th birthday, Pigeon announces his wish to go to Paris so Birch can find his lost love and hang out with famous artists. They hop a freight train to New York, where they meet singing hobos, become trapped in the Bronx Zoo and devise a plan to free the animals. They live in Hollywood, discover the art world of Paris and briefly join a circus. But eventually Pigeon realizes that it’s time to leave the security of Birch’s back and feel the ground under his own two feet. The philosophical Pigeon narrates his story in painterly prose, evoking the beauty and wonder of the world he and Birch experience. Fluid, linear spot art captures the essence and whimsy of this unusual tale.

A touching, singular story of a painting elephant and the boy he lovingly fosters. (Fiction. 6-12)