'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 3 May 2015

Review: Where's the Elephant?

Imagine a lush jungle scene. An island bursting with colourful flora of varying kinds. Can you see some creatures hiding in there?

Where's the elephant? Where's the parrot? Where's the snake?

A series of double page spreads provide little eyes a search-fest that's more than enchanting, as these jungle animals tuck themselves behind trees and shrubs, away from prying eyes.

And bulldozers.

As the pages advance, we see a creeping monster approach from the left--a sea of lopped-down trees washing eastward, impinging on the jungle's vibrant space. Like a receding hairline, the jungle moves close to the right hand page of each spread, making way for the emptiness, the tree stumps, the buildings and cars.

The sadness.

And all the while, the elephant, the parrot and the snake find fewer places to hide, until they are quite literally surround by city, and end up finding themselves inside a zoo. With One. Single Tree.

This is an almost wordless books--just three lines at the start, then none to follow, yet the impact and clarity of the storyline is unmistakable. I won't spoil the ending for you, but needless to say, it's well worth seeking out this gorgeous creation for your own library.

Barroux's author note at the end of the book tells us the inspiration behind the book--after a visit to Brazil where he saw parts of the Amazon rainforest being burned down for soybean production. He also cites his inspiration from the Where's Wally? books--and although this beautiful production is well beyond an activity book, the combination of styles really sings, especially for the very young.

Title: Where's the Elephant?
Author/Illustrator: Barroux
Publisher: Egmont, $23.95 RRP
Publication Date: 16 April 2015
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781405276481
For ages: 1 +
Picture Book