Parade of Elephants
by Henkes, Kevin

Five joyful elephants on a mission march up and over, over and under, and through and around from dawn to dusk before arriving at a surprise destination. By the Caldecott Medal-winning creator of Kitten's First Full Moon. 150,000 first printing.

"Look! Elephants!" With that simple direction, Henkes captures the youngest storytime audience members, focuses their attention, and proceeds to take them on a charm-filled adventure. As just one element of the masterful book design, the first spread includes counting and graphing as it introduces the elephant group. Simple repetitive text describes the elephants' activities, demonstrating a variety of prepositions. All of that marching tires out the elephants, who then stretch and yawn as they prepare to sleep. A play on words leads readers to investigate multiple meanings of parade and trumpet. An unexpected touch of magic at the end brings the tale to a satisfying conclusion. Although the color palette is similar to the one he used in Egg (2017), this time Henkes uses denser, more saturated gouache, perhaps to give the elephants a bit more heft. With little more than well-placed dots and lines, Henkes conveys the elephants' emotions and sense of accomplishment as the day turns to night. Well-executed and appealing, this book is a useful addition to preschool collections. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Henkes is a household name, and that's enough to boost demand for his latest. Preschool-Kindergarten. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Henkes' latest tale for preschoolers focuses on five elephants whose daylong march provides opportunities for counting and exploring opposites. "Look! / Elephants! // One, / two, / three, / four, / five." A clear grid places the corresponding number of elephants to the right of each number. This parade (a collective noun for a group or herd of elephants) travels up and down hills, over a bridge above jumping fish, under palm trees, and in and out of a cave. Thick lines of brown ink contour the simple shapes, and a different pastel color distinguishes each elephant. (The first and largest elephant is blue; the fifth elephant, who marches last, is small and pink.) The pared-down narrative, delivered handsomely on thick, creamy paper in 46-point Futura Medium, is wryly funny: "They march all day. // And when the day is done, / they are done, too." After the elephants yawn and stretch, "they lift their trunks… // and they trumpet— / scattering stars across the sky." T his lovely metaphor is humorously extended visually, as each elephant's trunk seems to spew a burst of five-pointed stars upward. (The little elephant manages five.) Then: "Good night." The elephants lie in a cozy huddle below the stars, signaling bedtime for sleepy kids, too. Brown endpapers bracket the story's simple arc: butterflies and the sun at the start; the moon and stars to end it. A muted palette and uncluttered yet nuanced compositions distinguish yet another winsome title from Henkes. Toddlers and grown-ups—snuggle up and enjoy. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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