Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Curiosity stops just short of being deadly in this adaptation of the Kipling classic. ``In the High and Far-Off Times'' when elephants sported short, ``bulgy'' noses, a young pachyderm full of ``satiable curiosity'' sets off to discover what crocodiles eat for dinner. After a rousing tug-of-war with the Crocodile himself, the Elephant's Child walks away with a new and improved (and quite sore) elongated trunk. Bolam's well-paced version of the tale is sure to perk up the ears of inquisitive listeners. Unfortunately, the text's understated action and gentle humor are overshadowed by random violence--the other animals spank the Elephant's Child whenever he asks a question, and the Elephant Child's new trunk is eventually used to spank them back. Bolam's bright, primitive paintings boldly contrast with airy white backgrounds, and the jungle animals' childlike facial expressions are particularly engaging. Ultimately, though, Kipling's writings remain too sophisticated for the picture book set. Ages 5-up. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
This story has been around for a long time and has been a perennial favorite of children. The language, of course, is marvelous. The story of the elephant child and his great curiosity, which resulted in his finally getting his very long and most useful nose as well as providing the means to avenge himself, is amusing. The illustrations, however, seem too strange and don't really go with the story that well. 1995 (orig.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5The complete text of Kipling's classic story is illustrated with a dozen stylish but murky paintings all monotonously presented on the right-hand page. The main character is depicted in parta trunk here, a backside thereand in muted and subdued colors that draw the eye, if only to identify what is going on. As decorations rather than revelations, these paintings may free listeners to imagine their own pictures. However, for literal-minded children, Lorinda Bryan Cauley's illustrations (Harcourt, 1983) or Emily Bolam's fresh pictures for the truncated version (Dutton, 1992) are still better bets.Susan Hepler, Alexandria City Public Schools, VA
Sinuous lines make a unifying visual motif for Patterson's dark, richly colored pastels in this lightly abridged version of the classic tale. Young Elephant, deep blue and with a black knob on the end of his nose like a bowling ball, satisfies his "'satiable curiosity" (changed from "curtiosity") about what crocodiles have for dinner by traveling to the great, grey-green, greasy Limpopo River (no longer "hung about with fever trees") to ask, then returns to spank all of his abusive relatives with his permanently stretched-out trunk. The original's actual language remains unchanged (with the exception noted above), and the removal of occasional phrases or sentences makes so little difference that it seems superfluous. The art is more inviting than the strange scenes in John Rowe's edition (1995), but in the end, this one is extra, considering the several other abridged versions available, and the full one illustrated by Lorinda Bryan Cauley (1983). (Picture book/short story. 6-9)
Children's Literature - Mary Bowman-Kruhm Ed.D.
Although abridged, this version about the baby elephant who, like all elephants then, had a bulbous nose, preserves the integrity of the whimsical and witty words in Kipling's original story. The Elephant's Child was "full of ?satiable curiosity." Like other word choices, a synonym for insatiable might have lowered the reading level but would have done harm to the charm of Kipling's tale. Wisely, word choice and syntax pattern the original. When the Elephant's Child continually asks his relatives endless questions, they respond by spanking him. The Ostrich uses her "hard, hard claw," the Giraffe his "hard, hard hoof," the Baboon his "hairy, hairy paw," and so on. After receiving a round of spankings when he asks what the Crocodile eats for dinner, he sets out to discover the answer for himself. The Kolokolo Bird tells him, "Go to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River and find out." Crocodile promises to whisper the answer if he comes close and then catches him by his little nose and pulls. With help from Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, Elephant's Child escapes but his nose is much stretched. The Snake wisely points out the advantages, Elephant's Child returns home to retaliate for his spankings by using his long nose to get back at his relatives, who eventually troop off "to the banks of the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River to borrow new noses from the Crocodile," and no one spanked anyone after that. Patterson's illustrations are striking. Vibrant colors creatively splash across the book's pages with visual delight as the flow of the Kimpopo River mirrors the elephant's trunk and Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake. One can imagine youngsters' squeals of delight with each turning page of this charming and gorgeously illustrated introduction to Kipling. Reviewer: Mary Bowman-Kruhm, Ed.D.