An elephantom? What’s that? A phantom elephant, of course.
When one turns up on Tuesday after dinner, the parents of the girl narrator don’t notice, not even when her bedroom begins to smell of dung. But the elephantom starts to bug the girl and get her into trouble, as when he invites his friends, who make a mess. The girl’s grandmother is the only one who understands the dilemma, as she has lots of ghost pets herself. She also has a business card for Mr. Spectral, and after an hours-long search, the girl finds his shop. He has the solution: a black box that contains something that will make the elephantom disappear. Where did he go? Check with the neighbors. The humor lies in the watercolor illustrations portraying the antics. Mr. Spectral’s shop shares street frontage with the World of Muesli, the Bucket Shop, Eyesore and Draintastic. The elephantom (and other ghost animals) is painted in pale gray. While it’s easy enough to pick the ghost animals out, too many of the spreads are composed with too little contrast among colors, making some scenes hard to discern.
While imaginary friends are a common theme in picture books, phantom animals offer a different twist—and the conceit may give kids an excuse to offer up when things go wrong. (Picture book. 5-7)