It Is a Tree
by Batori, Susan

In this retelling of the fable from India, blindfolded children at a party play a guessing game.

Susan Batori lives in Budapest, Hungary, with her soul mate, Robert, and with her cat, Kamilla. She studied graphic design at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest. She worked as an art director at an advertising agency; then she noticed that drawing hilarious characters was much more fun. Since 2013, Susan has been working as a freelance children's book illustrator. Humor is the one thing in her studio that she could not live without.

In a version of the Indian fable "The Blind Men and the Elephant," an assortment of jungle animals plays a blindfolded guessing game. The story begins wordlessly with the lion giving each animal a blindfold before leading the elephant to another area. Blindfolded, the lion cub feels the elephant's leg and declares, "It is a tree." Readers will immediately see the illustration of a tree trunk within the speech bubble and understand how the cub came to that conclusion. Next, comically balancing atop a ladder, the blindfolded giraffe feels what must be a wall but is in reality the elephant's flat side. The game continues with the hippo mistaking the elephant's trunk for a snake; the crocodile, a wrinkled ear for a fan; the zebra, the tail for a rope; and the turtle, a tusk for a pipe. Each of these guesses is expressed in a simple sentence beginning "It is a..." with a visual of the animal's guess to provide picture cues for emerging readers. A final review lists each word next to its position on an elephant-shaped brick wall with tree-trunk legs, a rope tail, two fans, and a befuddled snake dangling between t wo pipes. But as readers turn the page, the now-cheering friends, blindfolds off, reveal, "It is an elephant." The amusing cartoon artwork makes for an excellent enhancement. The story's origins are revealed only in the cataloging-in-publication statement. Cleverly designed for new readers' success. (Early reader. 6-8) Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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