First met in Ellie (2015), the eponymous, doe-eyed elephant becomes a champion of the arts as she adds music to her painting skills.
Poor Lucy the giraffe cannot sleep with the cacophony of noise in the zoo. “All Ellie wanted to do was help her friend.” Ellie shows readers true acts of compassion and problem-solving. The problem is clear: Lucy needs sleep. Ellie calmly stands by her friend’s side as each sleep aid is explored without success. When Ellie hears Betty Bluebird sing a lullaby to her babies, she has a new idea. She enlists the aid of Gerard, the wise gorilla, and organizes the animals into musical sections, just like an orchestra. She helps each animal find his or her tune. With patience and practice, Ellie changes the nightly noise in the zoo into a beautiful song that helps Lucy finally go to sleep. Wu’s expressive watercolor illustrations are imbued with kindness and comfort even through the inharmonious screaming and squinting of the noisy animals. The secondary characters have distinct personalities that clearly show what caring friends look like. Betty’s “theme” is reproduced in the backmatter; Ellie’s full score is printed on the inside of the jacket.
Readers will find a simple plot and compassionate characters balanced with glowing pictures for a satisfying story. (Picture book. 3-7)