The Elephant's Garden

illus. by Jane Ray. 32p. Boxer. Mar. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781910716229.
PreS-Gr 2—A traditional Indian folktale is retold and strikingly illustrated in this gorgeous picture book. When a girl discovers an elephant eating the best fruit in her garden, the elephant offers to repay her by showing her his own garden in a place beyond the moon and the stars. To reach this garden, Jasmine must hold on to the elephant's tail as the large animal flies through the deep blue night to his garden in a cloud. The elephant's garden indeed appears to be full of enormous fruit, but the girl soon realizes that each piece of fruit is actually a precious jewel. What follows is a story of gossip and greed, as the members of Jasmine's family each hope to see the elephant's garden for themselves. Ray deftly uses paper collage and paint to create flat, stylized scenes in vibrant jewel tones that fill the spreads with color and energy. Both gardens feature large trees with textured paper trunks and multicolored cut-paper leaves and fruits, resulting in a magical backdrop for the characters. But it is the scenes of Jasmine's family flying through the night sky that are both the most simple and the most expressive. Share with other tales about the folly of selfishness and greed such as "The Fisherman and His Wife" and "The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg."
VERDICT A beautifully illustrated, well-written offering that deserves a place in all folklore collections.

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