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Rudyard Kipling
Illustrated by Jan Mogensen

St. John's (Nfld.), Breakwater, 1989. 42pp, cloth, $11.95
ISBN 0-920911-40-4. CIP

Pre-school to Grade 4/Ages 4 to 9
Reviewed by Norma Charles.

Volume 18 Number 3
1990 May

A long time ago, the elephant had no trunk. How it got that most strange and versatile appendage is told in Kipling's wonderful story, The Elephant's Child.

In this beautifully illustrated version of Kipling's most popular tale, the young elephant sets off on the advice of the Kolokolo Bird to try to satisfy his insatiable curiosity about what the crocodile eats for dinner. We follow the Elephant's Child from his family's home, where everyone keeps spanking him for his 'satiable curiosity even though he asks them most politely to stop, to the far-off banks of the great grey-green greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever trees. There we meet not only the Crocodile, who weeps real crocodile tears to prove he is truly a crocodile, but also the Bi-Coloured-Python-Rock-Snake, who comes to the Elephant's Child's aid in the nick of time.

Mogensen's superb illustrations reflect the text and extend Kipling's old-world prose, giving the animal characters wonderfully rich personalities and their African environment a dreamy quality filled with muted colours of beige, greys and greens.

This book will be a welcome and popular addition to collections for the read-aloud story-time crowd.

Norma Charles, Van Home Elementary School, Vancouver, B.C.
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