The vast savanna is parched and dry, and grandmother Bibi is the only elephant who remembers the way to desperately needed water.
Mischievous little Tembo follows Bibi and her mama, aunties and sisters as they go “[s]earching for wet.” Along the way, she is often distracted, stopping to chew the leaves of a jackalberry tree, chasing some storks or taking a nap in a lovely cool spot. Each time, she finds herself alone, separated from the herd. She squeals and then listens until a family member locates her and escorts her back to the herd. Finally Bibi locates the remembered spot, where they all dig down through the dry riverbed until they reach the precious water. Tembo is childlike and appealing, but all her actions are also consistent with elephant behavior as explained in an author’s note describing the dynamics of elephant family groups. The elephants’ thoughts are shown in italics, indicating that they are not voiced, while Bibi’s call is expressed as a “rummmmble.” Several phrases are repeated multiple times, creating a sense of continuity and rhythm along with reassurance that all will be well. Wohnoutka’s lovely illustrations, in tans, purples and grays, convey the vastness of the setting, along with accurate depictions of the elephants and the other watchful animals.
A gentle, loving picture of interaction among generations. (Picture book. 3-7)