Did an elephant really follow Maya home from the temple in her Indian village?
When she first meets the baby elephant, the animal sneezes, and the little girl says: “Bless you, Acchu.” The homonym appears several times in the text, adding a little “Who’s on First”–type spin to the general confusion of the grown-ups in the house: “Maya, I thought you were an elephant!” exclaims Appa. “No, that’s Acchu!” she replies. “Bless you,” says he. There is no glossary, but Paati and Thatha (grandma and grandpa) and Amma and Appa (mom and dad) are very easy to decipher. None of the adults ever realize that the elephant is in the yard; they just glimpse little parts of it. Maybe it’s a hose? Maybe it’s the end of Maya’s braid? But they still seem to be in the dark until they notice the big mess of banana skins and coconut shells little Acchu has left on the ground. After all, Amma had told Maya exactly what elephants liked to eat. The light, humorous story is illustrated with attractive, amusing watercolors that portray a mischievous girl at play with her animal friend. There’s nothing overt here about rural Indian life—just a simple way to open readers’ imaginations to another part of the world.
Many kids will wonder why they too can’t bring an elephant home to play. (Picture book. 3-6)