The Elephants' Ears
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This issue’s cover is from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Monkey Puzzle. Written in rhyme, this agreeable story has butterfly helping little monkey to find his mum. Scheffler’s distinctive, entertaining and strongly characterised illustrations make good use of the page as little monkey meets lots of jungle inhabitants before being reunited with his mum. Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for their help in producing this July cover.
It is often said that the ear of the African elephant is shaped like the African continent. Chambers has turned this observation into a story of how African and Indian elephants came to be where they are. Pondering where her two children - large-eared, wild wayed Mala and small-eared, gentle Palo - might be happiest, a mother elephant enlists the help of Wise Eagle. He circles the earth and with his bird's eye view locates two areas of land whose shapes match the ears of the two pachyderms. Mala with a flamingo guide, and Palo with an egret, then journey to their new African and Indian homelands. Mockford's chunky, child-like illustrations in thick blocks of acrylic colour are big and bold and for me, have a stronger appeal than this neo-folk tale which I really tried hard to like.