From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—Intriguing artwork, worthy of close study, delicately illustrates this simple tale of an elephant that encounters a puzzling, inanimate object—a bright red umbrella. Not having the faintest idea what it is or its purpose, the pink-cheeked animal examines it, asking friends if they have any ideas. Experimentation helps to rule out what the "thingamabob" isn't. The pachyderm's gently humorous attempts at sailing it, flying with it, and, especially, hiding behind it will elicit smiles. When there's a small cloudburst, he finally figures out its function, understanding that he and his friends can stay dry together. The illustrations have the same captivating quality as those in the artist's A Book of Sleep
(Knopf, 2009) and are made "by combining handmade painterly textures with digitally generated layers," then compiled in Photoshop. Use this title along with Antoinette Portis's Not a Stick
(HarperCollins, 2008) for a storytime about using the imagination. Charming.—Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
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Na follows up his blushingly multicolored bedtime story, A Book of Sleep (2009), with this picture-book jaunt that. It opens abruptly: “One day, he found a thingamabob.” The “he” in question is a plump white elephant, and children will delight in knowing immediately that the thingamabob is a red umbrella. For the life of him, the elephant can’t figure out what the thing is for; sometimes it doesn’t do much of anything, other times it pops open alarmingly. He tries to fly with it (fails), tries to sail with it (nope), and tries to hide behind it (not even close), but it isn’t until it starts raining that the thingamabob’s use becomes apparent. Elephant invites all his friends to crowd underneath it with him. Sumptuous colors and swirling textures turn this slight, silly story into a visual feast, buoyed by a handful of great sight gags and the hands-down adorableness of the animals. Most of all, though, kids will come away from this treat with a terrifically toothsome new word to bandy about. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Ian Chipman