The Elephant Wish

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Overview

ON ELIZA PRATTLEBOTTOM?S eighth birthday, she wishes for an elephant to take her away from her boring life. Two days and six hours later, an elephant in a black floppy hat comes trumpeting down Bunthmather Street, lifts Eliza onto his back, and carries her to a magical jungle. Though her parents dream of her walking with a family of elephants, they don?t know where she?s gone. It is only Adelle, a 97-year-old woman with perfect posture, who is able to convince Eliza of the importance of returning home, and of ...
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Collectible First print of this edition- full number line. New, no marks, in like dust jacket, from store stock. Quarto.

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Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A. 2008 Hardcover 1st Edition New in New jacket Book. 4to-over 9?-12" tall. Collectible First print of this edition-full number line. New, no marks, ... in like dust jacket, from store stock. Quarto. Read more Show Less

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Juan, Ana 2008 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Signed by author. SIGNED by author on ffep. New, pristine with remainder dot. Autographed copy sticker on dj. ... Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Picture book. With dust jacket. 48 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: Children/juvenile. Read more Show Less

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Juan, Ana New York, NY 2008 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Picture book. With dust jacket. 48 p. Contains: Illustrations. ... Audience: Children/juvenile. Read more Show Less

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Overview

ON ELIZA PRATTLEBOTTOM’S eighth birthday, she wishes for an elephant to take her away from her boring life. Two days and six hours later, an elephant in a black floppy hat comes trumpeting down Bunthmather Street, lifts Eliza onto his back, and carries her to a magical jungle. Though her parents dream of her walking with a family of elephants, they don’t know where she’s gone. It is only Adelle, a 97-year-old woman with perfect posture, who is able to convince Eliza of the importance of returning home, and of enjoying her childhood while it lasts.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2008:
"A stunning lesson in the power of wishes and memory."
Publishers Weekly

Berger, the head writer for Sesame Street, offers a lush, poetic story that begins whimsically but has a denser, eerier mood. On her eighth birthday, Eliza Prattlebottom hopes, "Oh, I wish that an elephant would come and take me away!" An elephant in a floppy black hat arrives at the door and whisks her away at "four times the speed of wind" to a "jungly" place "full of creatures." The plot is complicated, involving Eliza's distracted parents (her father is a businessman and her mother an opera singer) and Adelle, a nonagenarian who nurses her own fond memories of Cousin Floyd (the elephant). Juan's (The Jewel-Box Ballerinas) mixed-media pictures offer a similarly surreal complexity and depth. Vines swirl, dragonflies dart, and the line between reality and the imagination blurs, creating just the kind of dreamscape a child's wish might conjure up. From Mr. Prattlebottom's glass eye to Adelle's 200-year-old bulldog, Potato, the details are strange and wonderful, and there is a sophistication in the story, including references to Verdi and a dull boardroom (aka "the long table"), that will entertain adults as well as children. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
On her eighth birthday, Eliza's wish is for an elephant to come and take her away from her preoccupied parents. In this magical tale, Cousin Floyd, a large elephant in a floppy hat arrives. He lifts Eliza onto his back and whisks her away. Her parents miss Eliza, seeing her atop an elephant in their dreams. Meanwhile, her ninety-seven-year-old neighbor Adelle, who saw Eliza ride away, recalls herself as a little girl named Addie. She had wished for an elephant then, and she had ridden away on one "across sidewalks and stars." Adelle decides she needs to be with that elephant again. Pulling her wagon with her 200-year-old dog and "moving with the speed of memory," she finds Eliza and the elephants. How she persuades Eliza to go home leads to a mystical happy ending. Juan creates a believable dream world, sometimes scarlet with sinuous black plants and sometimes pink with ghost-like slithering shapes. The image of an elephant takes shape from the flowing white steam of Adelle's teacup. Acrylic paints and crayons partner in this entrancing enterprise, uniting creatively to produce a sort of wonderland in visual poetry. Don't bypass the endpapers. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

Eliza Prattlebottom's mother (an opera singer) and father (a board member) have little time to spend with her. "Oh, I wish that an elephant would come and take me away!" Eliza thinks as she blows out all eight candles on her birthday cake. Her wish brings Cousin Floyd, an elephant who whisks her to the jungle on his back at "four times the speed of wind." Only Eliza's neighbor, 97-year-old Adelle, out pulling her elderly dog, Potato, in his wagon, sees Floyd. Recalling her own delightful childhood adventure with the elephants, she finds her way back to the jungle by following her memories. Then, reverting to a younger version of herself, she talks Eliza into going home to "friends you haven't met and a life that you must not wish away." Juan's brightly colored acrylic and crayon illustrations with their red-orange and strawberry pink backgrounds are as eccentric as the story itself: a monocle-wearing bulldog; wispy dream characters from the past floating like cloud shapes in a pink sky; pop-eyed bugs amid oversize mushrooms; and flowers in a tendril-filled forest. The story's weakness lies in its conclusion. One might wonder why an eight-year-old in the midst of an exciting dream fantasy would heed another child's instructions to give it up and go home. Perhaps the whole adventure is only a dream, after all? Berger leaves it to readers to decide.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

Kirkus Reviews
A young girl's extraordinary wish comes true until an old lady moves in to take her place. On her eighth birthday, Eliza Prattlebottom wishes an elephant would come and take her away from her busy parents. "Two days, six hours, thirty-seven minutes, and nine seconds" later an elephant named Cousin Floyd materializes, lifts Eliza onto his back and takes off at "four times the speed of wind." No one notices the elephant except 97-year-old Adelle, who remembers her own wish for an elephant when she was a girl and decides it's time to rejoin Cousin Floyd. Memory carries Adelle back where the world looks "jungly" and there she finds Cousin Floyd with Eliza. But only one wisher can stay with the elephant, so either Adelle or Eliza must go home. Juan's bold, fanciful acrylic-and-crayon illustrations create colorful, dreamlike scenes that prove the perfect accompaniment to the candid, imaginative text-a wedding of magical realism in word and image. A stunning lesson in the power of wishes and memory pitting the child Eliza against the childlike Adelle. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375839627
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/9/2008
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.04 (w) x 11.12 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Lou Berger has been the head writer at Sesame Street for nine years. He helped launch Reading Rainbow in the 1980s, and co-wrote the prime-time special, The Street We Live On, which was nominated for an Emmy. This is his first children’s book. He lives in Forest Hills Gardens, New York.

Most recently, Ana Juan is the illustrator of The Jewel Box Ballerinas, about which Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Juan’s artwork is glorious.” She is also the recipient of the Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, and her paintings have appeared on the cover of The New Yorker. She lives in Madrid, Spain.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2008

    AMAZING, EXCELLENT BOOK!

    Both the story and the illutrations in this book are absolutely amazing. The story, written by an award-winning former head writer for Sesame Street, is full of colorful, creative lines and expressions that will tickle and open the mind of a child, while delighting and inspiring the adult reader as well while reminding him or her of the power and wonder of a child's imagination. The story is touching. The drawings are colorful, dazzling, and you can spend hours just soaking them in, with all their little splendid details. I highly recommend this outstanding new book!

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