Sellers. Mar. 2021. 32p. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781531914813.
PreS-K–A stuffed elephant named Lucky accidentally falls out of his beloved owner’s arms into the ocean from a whale-watching boat. Lucky sinks deeper into the water and meets different sea creatures until a helpful shark and a kind ship captain ensure his safe return home to the little girl. Displaying mastery of digital coloring combined with fine art techniques in pencil and colored pencil illustration, Brown incorporates delicate details in this pleasant story, from Lucky’s cloth stitches to water-filtered sunlight. With watercolorlike saturation and blending, particularly in the background, Brown crafts immersive full-page illustrations, though these are featured infrequently. Instead, a less successful format emerges when the text lines squish between multiple, enclosed illustrative scenes overcrowding the page; this may confuse young readers trying to follow the fragmented text or pictured action. With many detailed visuals, Brown shows every moment of Lucky’s story, and leaves almost nothing to the imagination. The characters in the story are white; the small girl uses a wheelchair.
VERDICT This story will charm younger children in a read-aloud setting, but the often overflowing page space, shared by multiple illustrated scenes and text lines, suggest independent readers are the best audience for the toy elephant’s surprising adventure. Not an essential purchase, but full of heart.

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