Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE ELEPHANT'S CHILD by Rudyard Kipling


by Rudyard Kipling & illustrated by John A. Rowe

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-55858-369-6
Publisher: NorthSouth

 One of Kipling's best beloved from his Just So Stories (various editions), which explains how the elephant got his trunk, with somewhat enigmatic acrylic illustrations. The layout is rather plain: text on the lefthand side, pictures on the right. The still illustrations, executed in deep, heavy colors, follow the story very loosely. Often, they are representations of almost abstract shapes (rocks or animals), seen from odd angles (from above, from behind a rock), usually against a monolithic and indeterminate background. Appropriately, the artist makes use of a narrow perspective, offering readers glimpses of only part of the elephant's child, never the whole: his back, the top of his head, his trunk. The shadowy world depicted here also features strange little animals, skulls and bones, and scribbles that look like cave paintings; the atmosphere in these static pictures is lonely and mute. There is something mysterious about them, due to their undefined settings and abstract composition; their relationship to the text is never spelled out. They are more likely to appeal to adults than the picture book crowd; as usual, the text is required reading for everybody. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)