The Girl and the Elephant

Overview

A Classic Tale of Enduring FriendshipThe girl visits the zoo, mostly to see the elephant. Together, they love to play elephant games and they love to play girl games. Then one day, the elephant is gone, back to Africa. How is he doing there? Does he miss her, too? Finally, the girl decides to make the long journey. She searches day and night. But Africa is so big! Lush, expressive watercolor illustrations accompany the spare text, perfectly matched in their sweet simplicity.Illustrations include native African ...
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Overview

A Classic Tale of Enduring FriendshipThe girl visits the zoo, mostly to see the elephant. Together, they love to play elephant games and they love to play girl games. Then one day, the elephant is gone, back to Africa. How is he doing there? Does he miss her, too? Finally, the girl decides to make the long journey. She searches day and night. But Africa is so big! Lush, expressive watercolor illustrations accompany the spare text, perfectly matched in their sweet simplicity.Illustrations include native African animals.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Arresting artwork will draw youngsters to this simple story of friendship from a Dutch author/artist, whose illustrations seem ready-made for animated film. The tone of the narration is matter-of-fact: "This is the girl. She often goes to the zoo. She goes to see the animals, wishing there were no bars between them.... Most of all, she loves the elephant." The handsome watercolor-and-ink illustrations reinforce the anti-zoo sentiment. De Cock uses a versatile, two-tone palette of gold and black, and depicts the animals huddling dejectedly behind bars. Over several spreads, she depicts a budding friendship between girl and pachyderm. "Sometimes they play an elephant game" shows the girl swirling in leaves blown by the elephant; "sometimes they play a girl game" portrays the heroine suspended from the elephant's trunk. One day the heroine discovers the elephant has gone; "Back to Africa, says the caretaker." The child enlists the aid of a swift to find the elephant, then journeys to Africa. The strength of the book is in the starkly drawn, affecting illustrations. Moonlight beams through the porthole of the ship as the girl sleeps; assorted animals watch over her tiny figure as she searches Africa for the elephant; the girl and animal seem to bounce across the savannah when they spot each other. The artwork advances the action, while at the same time the girl's body language and the stunning settings furnish the economical tale's emotional underpinnings. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This story starts with a sad little girl. She travels to the zoo to visit the animals, but her favorite animal is the elephant. She feeds him and plays with him and becomes the elephant's friend. One day, the elephant disappears. "Back to Africa" says the zookeeper. This makes the girl even sadder and with the help of a swift, she begins a quest to find her friend the elephant. If you are an animal lover, you will love this book. Children, however, may not like it quite so much. While there is definitely an audience that it will appeal to, the story is, overall, a little bland. The girl is never named and the text is very choppy. The illustrations are attractive, but very subtle in hues of black and orange. Children used to the exciting illustrations in other books will be let down by the more artistic pictures in this one. The story is unrealistic and does not contain enough fantasy elements to overcome that. Again, if the reader is already passionate about animals, the story of a girl's search for her elephant friend will not seem farfetched. For other readers, it may not be so appealing. 2003, Tricycle Press/Ten Speed Press, Ages 4 to 7.
—Heather Mason
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Highly stylized both in text and illustrations, this light tale of a little girl's friendship with an elephant has a charming disregard for reality. When the nameless child arrives at the zoo one day, she discovers that her friend has gone back to Africa; she asks the swift to find him and spends a cold, sad winter wondering if the creature is all right. When the bird returns with news of her friend, the girl informs her parents that she is going to Africa and hops on a ship. De Cock's fluid watercolor and black-ink illustrations with shades of gray and orange portray a gleeful reunion. One especially effective spread shows giraffes, ostriches, and other animals roaming free over the plains of Africa, while their caged counterparts endure a snowy winter behind bars. With its freewheeling art and the slightly not-of-this-world feel of the story, this book certainly isn't for everyone, but those who appreciate arty magic realism will be enchanted.-Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Maryland School for the Deaf, Columbia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582461335
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2004
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 7 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.96 (w) x 9.04 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Promising illustrator NICOLE DE COCK lives in Haarlem, the Netherlands. This is her picturebook debut.
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