Elephant calf Jumbo details all the ways Mom lovingly cares for her child.
Set primarily on tan-colored backgrounds so deeply textured as to look fibery, collage-style elephants constructed from expansive, beautifully curved shapes dominate each page. From the first moment, readers perceive that while Jumbo might be small, solid and stable Mom elephant will emotionally (and literally!) shelter her baby from any storm. As some pages open on some dramatic scenes in which the small elephant stumbles off a cliff or is menaced by lions, the determined eye contact between mother and baby or the furiously red, larger-than-life mother blockading her child from danger are eminently reassuring. After the introductory action, the narrative transitions to a less-tumultuous day, with the pair playing, snacking, and snuggling, leading to a somnolent bedtime scene. Mom’s skin subtly and helpfully changes color to hint at the mood, whether she’s playfully purple or restfully green-tinged while finding food. Narrating through a series of frank observations and sentiments about Mom, Jumbo achieves that just-right tone: “Mom plays with me. She makes me laugh.” Toddlers will also relate to the simple gesture of reciprocity when Jumbo picks a flower for Mom—what small child, elephantine or not, doesn’t enjoy gifting a dandelion?
A touching final page of baby elephant looking adoringly up to Mom confirms it: This is a perfect read for Mother’s Day or any day. (Board book. 1-3)