Jenni Desmond’s latest nonfiction book takes a look at one of our world’s largest animals: the elephant. Using a young boy’s exploration as a vehicle, we see him pick a book and be drawn into an elephant’s world through breathtaking, realistic color artwork. Informative facts throughout include the difference species and subspecies of elephants and the fact that they appear light on their feet because they mainly walk on tiptoe; they have sensitive skin and detect a fly landing on a leg or the rumbling of other elephants from as much as six miles away! Elephants can favor a tusk, much like humans have a preferred hand to write with. The author notes factors endangering elephants, including poachers who seek elephants’ ivory tusks.
The collage, paint, and colored pencil artwork is stunning, rendering detailed, realistic elephants on every page, while keeping readers aware that this is a child’s journey; the boy shows up, cartoon-like, in spreads, sporting a red crown and, sometimes, a friend.
This superb volume is a wonderful way to connect reading, imagination, and nonfiction – nonfiction is great for dreamers, too, after all! Jenni Desmond received the 2016 New York Times Best Illustrated award for The Polar Bear. This is her third book on endangered animals, joining The Polar Bear and The Blue Whale (2015). The Elephant has starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist, and is a Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of 2018. Add this one to your wildlife nonfiction collections.