A misbehaving elephant and his giraffe friend change the shapes of their species in this modern fable by debut author Lowe and illustrator Myers.
A long time ago, this story posits, elephants had short trunks and giraffes had short necks. Pug, a mischievous elephant who “very seldom” does as he’s told, and Dot, a usually well-behaved giraffe, disobey their parents and go play in the dangerous desert. When a sandstorm makes it impossible for them to see their way back to their meadow, they decide to climb a mountain to get a better view. A misstep leads to Pug falling and Dot catching him by his trunk. The resulting physical changes—a longer trunk and neck—help the two find their way back home. The story’s geography is improbable and its presentation of Africa as a fairy-tale-like location does it no favors. However, the conclusion does have the sensibility of folkloric origin stories. Myers’ watercolor-and-ink art presents two adorable, compact animals that suit the overall tone of the story well. The small typeface and occasionally unusual vocabulary words (“seldom,” “surely”) may make it a challenge for newly independent readers, but the folk tale flavor, appealing images, and brief page count may carry them to the end.
Worth consideration by libraries where animal folk tales are popular.