Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Fall Reading 2019 Mrs. Bibi's Elephant

Imagine having an elephant for a pet. Sometimes it seems I can't get through my house without tripping over two very small dogs, so a large pachyderm seems a bit much. But it is just the right companion for Mrs. Bibi. They take walks, have tea and cakes, play with the neighborhood children, and even share bedtime stories. So it is obvious that Mrs. Bibi cannot give up her friend just so she can become absorbed in economics and filling her house with shiny objects like the rest of the adults in town. When their demands cause Mrs. Bibi and her elephant to leave, the townspeople learn that they have made a big mistake. Is too late to repair the damage?

The illustrations are delightful. Images of Mrs. Bibi looking tiny next to her large pet, the children joyfully climbing on the elephant and cavorting in the shower from his trunk, and the tea table with the elephant carefully perched on a folding chair all show that he is a gentle giant. There are a variety of patterns on clothing, wallpaper, the tea set, and even the sides of buildings in town that add vibrancy to the characters and setting.

A lovely story about treasuring friendship and not giving in to the pressure from others to abandon a dear companion, but also about learning to value friends over stock market reports and chandeliers. In a way it reminded me of The Book Tree in the way that one person makes such a big difference to the town. Good for early elementary and preschool readers.

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