Elephants Never Forget!
by Anushka Ravishankar
Illustrated by Christiane Pieper
Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2008
Stunning, stylized artwork expressed in just three colors—black, lavender, and cream—appears to be traditional woodcut or print images but are actually digitally created pictures. These bring a fresh yet old-fashioned feel to this unusual jungle story about family. After a terrible thunderstorm, a young elephant finds himself separated from his family. From the riverbank, the lost and lonely pachyderm observes a herd of water buffalo resting and playing in the water, and shyly he joins in. Suddenly he finds himself following as they race away from a prowling tiger. Soon the elephant calf is seen as just another member of the water buffalo family: “The elephant cleared the buffaloes’ path. He helped them take a shower bath.” Growing tall and strong, the elephant now protects the herd from the dangerous tiger. Although he makes a trumpet call while the buffaloes bellow, the assimilation is comfortable and companionable—until a herd of elephants appear on the opposite shore of the river. “Toooot! Toooot! Tooot! The elephants called. Belloow! Belloooow! The buffaloes bawled.” Large, lively lettering and playful rhyming text perfectly capture the young elephant’s conundrum. With which family will he stay? His dramatic decision might surprise some, but it lends itself well to discussion about identity and belonging. © Cooperative Children's Book Center