IF AT FIRST by Sandra Boynton


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Can a mouse push, pull, coax, importune, chase, or frighten an elephant up a hill? That is the question addressed in Boynton's spare, no-background cartoons, which show nothing but a roundish purple elephant, a paunchly little tan mouse, and an obtuse angle representing the slope to be scaled. ""If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again"": So goes the equally bare text, with only a ""sigh"" here, a ""don't cry"" there, and a ""hee hee hee"" from the unmoved elephant for relief from the persistent tries. A couple of loud horn blasts from the rear finally succeed in moving the elephant, but Boynton's punch line comes on the last double page, which gives new meaning to that final word ""again"": having succeeded, the mouse marches resolutely downhill to face a row of eight more recalcitrant elephants. It's a good one-line joke, but whether it should be a picture book or one of many strips between soft covers is another question.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1980
Publisher: Little Brown