The welcome return of odd-couple pals Elephant and Giraffe (When Elephant Met Giraffe, 2014).
Gude tenders three brief but pointed moments in the lives of Elephant and Giraffe: the best time to play the alpenhorn (here referred to as an alpine horn), how to enjoy (or not) a toboggan on a tropical savannah and how to throw a surprise party. Its exactitude is charming. In the first vignette, Giraffe (who does not speak) is clueless as to when to play his huge horn: when Elephant is going to bed, when she is getting up, maybe when she is having lunch? Lunch turns out to be the best time. In the second sketch, Elephant voices that she would like a toboggan, so Giraffe sets to work (with an acetylene torch) to build her one. Once it’s completed, they bring it to the dry, flat savannah and sit on it. Elephant is very grateful—and tactful. In the final episode, Elephant tells Giraffe she is throwing him a surprise party. Giraffe asks for balloon animals, polka music and no cake. That’s what he gets but only if you take one word at a time. Though there are some quirks—using a blowtorch to build a wooden object is a big one—the artwork’s an utter distraction, with color straight out of first-grade paint jars.
Readers can’t help but feel lifted after spending time with these two companions. (Picture book. 3-5)