Art and text create a moving tale.

ELEPHANT JOURNEY

THE TRUE STORY OF THREE ZOO ELEPHANTS AND THEIR RESCUE FROM CAPTIVITY

Three elephants from the Toronto Zoo are moved to a sanctuary in California.

Toka and Iringa “roamed with their families in the warm, dry climate of southern Africa” before they were “captured and brought to a zoo in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.” Thika, 10 years younger, was born at the zoo. The matter-of-fact, accessible text makes it clear that these monumental creatures were headed toward early deaths due to the combination of harsh weather and the stultifying zoo environment, triggering the transfer. Beautiful oil paintings with the softness of pastels—all double-page spreads on generously sized pages—capture important moments in the story: the different settings of southern Africa, zoo, and wildlife sanctuary; the excitement of protestors who finally convince authorities to transport the elephants to the Performing Animal Welfare Society; the convoy of trucks from Toronto to California; and many intimate moments among elephants. Particularly poignant: Toka has shyly moved from her transport crate to the PAWS elephant barn, where three resident elephants stand behind safety barriers. The elephants trumpet and wave their trunks at the newbie: “It was as if the elephants were old friends who had been reunited at last.” There is quite a bit of repetition in the endnotes but also further details, including a recounting of the two years following the successful 2013 transfer.

Art and text create a moving tale. (index) (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-927485-77-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Ann Featherstone/Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2016

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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