illus. by Blexbolex. 128p. Enchanted Lion. Mar. 2018. Tr $24.95. ISBN 9781592702466.
Gr 3–5—A young girl is enjoying her summer vacation in the quaint, peaceful countryside until her grandfather brings home an unexpected visitor. The guest, a young elephant, does his best to get along, but the girl isn't interested in sharing her time, her toys, or her grandfather's affection. After the girl smugly chases the elephant away right before a dangerous storm, her grandfather sets out to bring him home safely and resolve their tumultuous relationship with a magical evening at the carnival. Blexbolex stretches the boundaries of typical graphic novels in this deeply expressive wordless title. Relying on screen-printing techniques, he gives images a textured appearance, masterfully evoking Roy Lichtenstein's pixelated pop art and Little Golden Books' subdued retro charm. The artwork features a tapestry of rich earthy and celestial tones—red clay, forest green, goldenrod, navy blue—and soft lines abound, though the foliage and other natural elements often appear jagged and untamed. Images frequently bleed into each other, with no discernible framing on the small panels inlaid on full-page spreads. Although the characters don't speak, they unmistakably convey emotions (anger, surprise, regret, wonder), particularly the young girl, and will raise questions of how feeling and circumstances affect our perceptions of others. However, the narrative takes an odd turn during the carnival scene that may leave readers perplexed.
VERDICT This stunning yet unique offering may have trouble finding an audience, but more sophisticated fans of graphic novels and wordless books may appreciate it. Under the guidance of a thoughtful adult, the work might also spur discussion about its deeper meanings.

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