Elephants swim underwater and use their trunks like snorkels. Sea otters wrap themselves in a cradle of kelp so they won't drift off while sleeping. Hippos can sleep underwater, but they must come to the surface every 5 minutes to breathe. Elephants Swim is a beautiful book for young children. It uses rhymes and full color collages to introduce us to how 16 animals behave in the water. The text is simple, the illustrations are enchanting, and the endnotes give us more details on the behavior of each animal.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Elephants swim gracefully, holding their trunks out of the water as snorkels. But what do other animals do? Sixteen wonderfully diverse animals, each with its own way of dealing with water, plunge, paddle, and propel themselves across the double-page spreads. Richly textured, full-color paper collages are accompanied by short rhyming sentences. ``Hippos sink to the bottom to sleep. Wildebeests wade where the water's not deep.'' The point here: there are many ways to swim. ``How about you?'' readers are asked at the end. Notes illuminating further facts about each animal's water habits follow. The writing is clear, straightforward, and will stimulate further interest. However, the arbitrary use of male and female pronouns seems forced. ``An elephant swims with her whole body,'' and ``seven minutes after a baby wildebeest is born she can run.'' Armadillos and polar bears are referred to as ``he.'' Nevertheless, the writing is sound and the beauty of the collages alone make this a welcome addition to any collection.-Lisa Wu Stowe, Great Neck Library, NY
The big draw in this simple yet extremely clever introduction to animals and the way they respond to water is the artwork--stunning paper collages that feature animals in the water. There's only one line of text per page ("Kangaroos swim, but their babies stay dry" ), with the rest of the page being taken up with the shapely cutouts that have so much texture you want to reach out and touch them. Elephants, a squid, pelicans, and a polar bear are just a few of the creatures that make an appearance. Perhaps the most impressive is the tiger, which really looks ready to pounce. An appended section of notes gives a little more information about the animals and their water habits ("A ring of strong muscles keeps the opening to the [kangaroo's] pouch closed tightly" ). A delight from start to finish.
Caldecott Honor Winner Steve Jenkins lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and collaborator, Robin Page, and their three children. Along with writing and illustrating children's books, Steve and Robin run a graphic design studio.