The front cover of this delightful picture book, tells its own story. Small boy, BIG elephant looking at each other. Here we enter the wonderful imagination of a child- asking “What if…”
Wanting an elephant is a perfectly normal desire for a small child. I always wanted a monkey. The possibilities are endless if you actually have an elephant, and the illustrations are expressive and easy to follow. It is the way the elephant’s eyes respond to each scenario which I loved best. The story takes us through many suggestions but what the boy actually gets for his birthday is not revealed until the final page.
This book was a treat for my granddaughter who asked lots of questions about the mechanics of owning an elephant. She very quickly noticed the expressive eyes and told me sad, or scary or happy from each page. The pictures have quirky additions which lead to deeper discussions and the final page allows further flights of imagination. The detail in the pictures is superb. The colourist, Tara Black, brings the images to life. Even the front and endpapers of the book tell part of the story. I am always delighted to see excellence in the presentation of children’s books.
As a teacher, this would be a great starter for a technology unit, or pet care, or even the poetry starter…What if?
For my birthday ( or even for Mother’s Day) I think I’d like…
Reviewed by Kathy Watson
If I Had an Elephant
by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones
Published by Scholastic NZ