A long journey to a mountaintop with his mother results in more than an expansive view for young pachyderm Raju.
The story begins on the front endpapers, where Benson’s lushly detailed watercolors introduce the elephants setting off in a pre-dawn landscape. The little elephant is dubious. Instead of the perennial “Are we there yet?” Raju repeatedly asks, “When can we go home again?” His mother answers, “Soon.” On their journey they encounter dangerous creatures. A crocodile snaps, a snake slithers, and a tiger roars. They are no threats, however, to Raju’s mother. She “stamped her feet so hard, it made the earth tremble,” and she “blew her trunk so hard, it made the trees shake,” and then she “reared up so high, she was as big as a giant.” When they come to the mountain, Raju’s mother instructs him to take hold of her tail. At the summit, mother and child share in the beauty. At dusk, even though Raju is very tired and his feet hurt after retracing their steps back to their home, Raju wants to know “When can we do it all again?” Readers know the answer. Knapman’s finely structured text has rhythmic pacing just right for reading aloud, while the deftly rendered pictures enhance the overall warmth of this gentle tale.
A mother-child journey readers will want to share again, soon. (Picture book. 3-6)