"The animals have been waiting a long time for Mommy Elephant to have her baby. Finally the baby arrives and there is much to celebrate"P.  of cover.
Publishers WeeklyThis zoo tale doesn't go where readers will expect, but its message is entertaining. All the animals come running when Mommy Elephant finally has her baby, and it looks as if the story will focus on what the baby does and how she grows. Instead, attention lingers on the praise the adults heap on her. "Here and there she is soft and pink like me!" says Pig. "She is so cute, oink-oink!" Each of the animals finds something attractive about the baby to exclaim over. ("And look at her nose!" says Gorilla. "It reminds me of a banana. She is so cute, screech-screech!") Like any small being, though, the baby elephant rebels. "I am not cute," she announces. "I am Kai-Mook!" The story stops there; Kai-Mook doesn't persuade the adults to take her seriously, nor is she reconciled to their fond admiration. Yet van Genechten's (No Ghost Under My Bed) cartoonish characters are engaging and his spreads are full of action; he captures the divide between sentimental age and independent youth. Children will appreciate Kai-Mook's strong declaration—it's one they have probably made themselves. Ages 3–5. (July)
School Library JournalPreS-K—When a baby elephant is born, all the animals are smitten. Pig thinks that its pink patches look just like the baby's pink skin and declares, "She is so cute, oink-oink!" Rabbit thinks that her floppy ears are just like its own and says, "She is so cute, sniff-sniff!" Gorilla thinks that the baby's nose looks like a banana. "She is so cute, screechscreech!" Each creature takes a turn to point out similarities with the new baby and all declare her "cute." At last the new baby says, "I AM NOT CUTE,"..."I AM KAI-MOOK!" The friendly collage and pastel cartoon-style animals are just right for toddlers and preschoolers. Children seated at the back of the room at storytimes will have no trouble following along with the oversize pages and large, easily recognizable creatures. Bright-eyed, smiling faces and interesting texturing provide visual appeal that earns this book a spot among the pack of baby-in-the-jungle tales. Further, Kai-Mook's many points of similarity with her fellow animals may help spark conversations with older siblings who are having trouble finding anything in common with their newest family members.—Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI
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