Mrs. Bibi’s Elephant

Flying Eye. Apr. 2020. 32p. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781912497164.
PreS-Gr 2–The enchanting embossed cover of Mrs. Bibi sitting on her elephant’s trunk amid a garden of flowers, plants, and birds belies the town residents’ consternation regarding her choice of a pet. Mrs. Bibi always has a lovely time walking, eating, and talking with her elephant. But no matter—he’s just too different to be accepted into the community. The residents don’t want their children to get any crazy ideas about owning pets. They want the elephant gone, and the town judge requests him to be moved to the zoo. Mrs. Bibi and her pet leave their home in the middle of the night to the befuddlement of those who come to collect the elephant the next day. Sadness engulfs everyone in the town as they realize something is now missing. Children are eventually allowed to own pets, even elephants, to regain the happiness that Mrs. Bibi’s elephant brought to the town. Dalvand, an Iranian author/illustrator, explores the feelings and reactions that surround anxiety about diversity through a global symbol of unity—an elephant. A range of emotions—from fury to felicity—is expressed through intricate illustrations rendered in vivid pinks, reds, and yellows interspersed among muted grays, greens, and blues. Mrs. Bibi is white, the residents are depicted in a variety of colors, and the elephant is gray.
VERDICT Pair with Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young for a thematic read-aloud that introduces children to the concepts of diverse perspectives, social acceptance, and communal harmony.

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