When Walt the zookeeper announces the zoo will be closing for good, all the animals pitch in to save it. But shy Ellie the elephant cannot see how she can help. How can she help save the zoo?
Gerard the gorilla is clever and always has good ideas. Lucy the giraffe can clean up all the places no one else can reach. Even the penguins and monkeys are sprucing up the gray and ramshackle zoo. Everyone but Ellie has a job to do. With big, round eyes, sweet Ellie is clearly sad that she cannot help save her home. With a “brighten the corner where you are” attitude, Ellie picks up a paintbrush and gives it a try. Like Dorothy arriving in Oz, the world changes when the paint hits the walls. In his first picture book, Pixar animator Wu creates watercolor illustrations that are reminiscent of classics like Harry the Dirty Dog and Curious George. Round Gerard, tall Lucy, and impossibly thin Walt are distinct personalities beyond their physical attributes. There is a timelessness that draws attention to these gentle figures. The storyline, however, meanders like the little elephant as the book proceeds. Is the kernel of this book about contributing even if you are little? Or saving the zoo and becoming famous?
Luckily for Ellie and readers alike, it is the pictures that matter. (Picture book. 3-7)