Every Home Needs an Elephant

Orca. May 2021. 160p. pap. $10.95. ISBN 9781459824300.
Gr 1-4–Ever want to meet an elephant who arranges flowers, or a cat who teaches Mandarin? Heinrichs weaves graphic and narrative forms to create an imaginative tale. Sarah is lonely until she reads a newspaper ad for unique pets for sale. When her distracted, work-obsessed parents agree to a pet, Sarah buys an elephant, and conflicts ensue. It’s challenging to fit Mr. Smith through the door, and his sneezes bring chaos to the family’s orderly life, so Sarah’s parents demand that the animal go. When Sarah runs away, she, her new friend Princess Peter, her parents, and their neighbors must work together to find a solution. Exploring themes about what is “normal” and what is extraordinary, Heinrichs stresses that the people we least expect might have the best solution and that love can be expressed in unexpected ways. Though the story explores parent-child dynamics, it’s mostly a tale to be enjoyed for its fun, fantasy, humor, and, especially, its gentle black-and-white art with splashes of color. Sarah is cued as white.
VERDICT The perfect pick for early readers, visual learners, and all who possess an imagination.

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