My Bibi Always Remembers

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Little Tembo, a baby elephant, is thirsty and her herd cannot find any water. But Bibi, the matriarch, "remembers the way to wet." As Bibi leads them across the parched savannah, Tembo happily follows, every now and then getting distracted by her own memories of games she loves to play. With touching family moments interspersed between Tembo's playful actions, this tribute to grandmothers will make a perfect ...

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Little Tembo, a baby elephant, is thirsty and her herd cannot find any water. But Bibi, the matriarch, "remembers the way to wet." As Bibi leads them across the parched savannah, Tembo happily follows, every now and then getting distracted by her own memories of games she loves to play. With touching family moments interspersed between Tembo's playful actions, this tribute to grandmothers will make a perfect read-aloud.

Praise for Stay Close to Mama

"Readers and their parents will instantly see themselves in this loving but ongoing conflict over the need to explore and the need to protect, and they'll undoubtedly find the two characters adorable and reassuring."
-Publisher's Weekly

Wohnoutka's large, almost impressionistic paintings grant a rich glimpse of the broad savanna and its denizens.
-School Library Journal

Praise for Just Like My Papa

"The acrylic illustrations are larger than life and show the expanses of the savannah but remain warm and kid-friendly, especially in the lions' depth of expression, ranging from curiosity to impatience, from concern to pride. The pacing is superb, with the right amount of drama for the youngest readers yet awash with reassuring paternal love and care for young Kito."
-School Library Journal

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The duo behind Stay Close to Mama and Just Like My Papa returns with another cross-generational animal story set in the African savanna. Like Twiga the giraffe in Stay Close to Mama, Tembo the elephant is easily distracted, darting away from her family as they search for water. “When Tembo looks up,” writes Buzzeo, “she is all alone. Wind whistles through the acacia trees. Tembo squeals. Which way should I go? She waits and listens.” The story reaches its dramatic apex the third time Tembo wanders off for a nap, awakening as “hyenas laugh” and “lions huff” nearby. Wohnoutka amplifies the danger by placing the predators in the foreground amid the dark shadows and ruddy colors of sunset, but Tembo’s family isn’t far off, and a sense of security is quickly reestablished. Buzzeo emphasizes the important matriarchal role of Tembo’s grandmother, Bibi, throughout, and endnotes offer additional information on how these eldest elephants lead and protect their families. In both text and art, it’s a careful and effective balance of anthropomorphic warmth and real-world animal behavior. Ages 3–5. Author’s agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Aug.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Tembo, an adventurous young elephant, is so eager to explore the African savannah that she keeps straying from her family and the direction the herd is heading in search of water. Each time she loses her way, she stops and listens for the trumpeting of her grandmother. "When Bibi calls,/everyone comes—one by one./Step-step./ Searching for wet." Buzzeo weaves singsong repetition into a story about this curious little elephant who enjoys her freedom and independence but always keeps the security of her family within reach. Wohnoutka's full-bleed, full-spread illustrations show a expansive landscape filled with beauty but with hints of danger. An author's note gives brief information about African elephants. With its catchy rhythm and finely crafted text and art, this book is perfect for group sharing.—Megan Egbert, Meridian Library District, ID
Kirkus Reviews
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423183853
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 9/2/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 483,077
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Toni Buzzeo

Toni Buzzeo ( is a children's book author and reviewer and retired school library media specialist. She speaks at national, state, and regional library and reading conferences and does author visits at schools across the country. Her most recent books are Just Like My Papa and Stay Close to Mama, companions to this book, and the Caldecott Honor-winning and New York Times best-selling One Cool Friend, ilustrated by David Small. She divides her time between a colonial farmhouse in Buxton, Maine, and a home near the ocean in Sarasota, Florida.

Mike Wohnoutka ( grew up in Spicer, Minnesota. His dad, an engineer, would bring home reams of paper with highway plans on one side. Mike filled the blank side of the sheets with drawings of race cars, snowmobiles, baseball players, super heroes-everything he was interested in. In high school his art teacher encouraged him to pursue art as a career. He graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a B.F.A. in illustration. Mike has published books with Random House, Dutton, Clarion, and Holiday House. He enjoys visiting schools and talking to students about illustrating children's books. He currently resides in Minneapolis with his wife and two children.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 2, 2014

    Ready? Set? Let¿s go on an exciting journey to Africa. Award w

    Ready? Set?
    Let’s go on an exciting journey to Africa.
    Award winning children’s author, Toni Buzzeo, and illustrator, Mike Wohnoutka,
    take us to elephant country in this new picture book, My Bibi Always Remembers.
    Watch Bibi, the grandmother and matriarch of her herd, lead the journey.
    Sensory words and vibrant images bring this story to life!
    A baby elephant plays, lingers, and explores along the way—as always.
    The Mama must stay constant in guarding the baby with her protective trunk.
    The Auntie is never far away—curling around the little one and pushing onward to safety.
    Always, Bibi keeps leading and rumbling! The baby watches and mocks grandmother.
    Someday, she could be the matriarch.

    Progressing over this parched plain, the reader feels unwavering heat.
    But as darkness falls, there is added sense of fear.
    Yet, Bibi remembers!  
    And, the day’s journey is rewarded!
    Moonlight shows a sense of peace.

    What a wonderful book for storytime in libraries, classrooms, and at family time!
    Every grandmother needs a copy!
    It is a fun read aloud and a great story to act out!
    For Preschool and Up!

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