What to Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot

illus. by Peter H. Reynolds. 32p. Dial. July 2012. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-0-8037-3398-5.
PreS-Gr 1—An intrepid child, decked out in full safari kit, is warned by an offstage guide, "If an elephant stands on your foot, keep calm." Otherwise, it leads to all kinds of trouble-from tigers to snakes to crocodiles. When that happens, you obviously need to call on monkeys to rescue you. Whew! First-time author Robinson's simple, amusing text is paired with Reynolds's engaging cartoon illustrations; they extend the humor with exaggerated facial expressions and comical settings. Perfect for storytimes, this picture book lends itself well to dialogic reading, allowing children to discuss what's happening, extend the text, and predict what may come next. Be sure to offer this to fans of Laura Numeroff's If You Give a Mouse... books (HarperCollins) or pair them up in storytimes.—Sharon Grover, Hedberg Public Library, Janesville, WI
A young safari explorer is consistently unable to heed advice to not startle an elephant, disturb a tiger, wake a rhinoceros, etc. Despite the exasperated narrator's I-told-you-so tone ("You ninny!" "Honestly, you're hopeless!"), the etiquette guidance keeps coming with each amusing predicament. Pictorial clues in Reynolds's humorous illustrations invite the reader to anticipate the clueless kid's next sticky situation.
In this hilarious, fast-paced adventure, a safari guide repeatedly defies the advice of the narrator, who at one point cautions, “Do not be tempted to climb a tree. Oh, for goodness’ sake! Go ahead, then, if you must—but don’t say I didn’t warn you!” Michelle Robinson’s second-person narration brings the reader into the action, making it all the funnier when the narrator exclaims, “Honestly, you’re hopeless!” The goofy facial expressions on Peter H. Reynold’s cartoon-like animals—from a crocodile licking his lips to some very toothy monkeys—are delightfully silly.

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