FICTION

Elephants Do Not Belong in Trees

Orca. Feb. 2021. 32p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9781459825994.
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PreS-K–Trees are home to life in all shapes and sizes, but when Larry joins his tree neighbors, they are not too thrilled about sharing space with an elephant. Illustrations in a bold, warm palette comically depict the various shades of angst experienced by Squirrel, pressed by Larry’s posterior against the truck; Bird, who has nowhere to nest except Larry’s head; and Monkey, swinging by Larry’s tail. In turn, each of these neighbors attempts to drive Larry out. But it’s Larry who comes to everyone’s rescue when a bulldozer arrives. Filled with delightful onomatopoeia and expressive changes in font to aid in dramatic story times, this quirky, humorous story will delight young children and invite discussion on acceptance. Among minor incongruities: there are animals in the tree who aren’t given a voice; these animals would not live in the same biome; only the elephant is given a name. It’s cute and funny, and simply may need more discussion.
VERDICT Odd messaging aside, this will tickle children’s funny bones as they take on an impossible thought—an elephant in a tree.

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