PreS-Gr 1–A sweet story of an eager-to-please but clumsy young elephant. Stanley wants to assist his mother in the kitchen but is more of a hindrance than a help, so she sends him to the store for tomatoes. On the way, he accidentally smashes a mouse's pumpkin home. The poor mouse has lost everything and Stanley pledges to fix his mistake. Employing his imagination, he picks up a variety of items including walnut shells, acorn caps, a lace doily, a bottle cap, and an assortment of items from the recycle bin on his porch. Beginning with the tomato box, he creatively uses his found objects to construct a cozy home for his grateful new friend. The fascinating illustrations made from watercolors, ink, pastels, and colored pencils feature two simply drawn plump gray elephants and a small tan mouse placed on intricately assembled collage backgrounds. The collages appear to include postage stamps, a braided rug, wallpaper, pieces of quilts and pottery as well as hand-cut leaves. Using one's imagination, repairing a mistake, and making a new friend are some of the themes contained in this charming story.Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI
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Stanley the young elephant is a bit of a clumsy fellow. This is proven when, on the way to the store, he throws a ball and knocks down Mouse’s house. Remorseful, he tells Mouse he’ll build her a new one, but Mouse is doubtful even as Stanley begins collecting a box, a doily, and other items with which to decorate. When the duo returns to Stanley’s home, where Mother is waiting for the tomatoes to make pizza, the elephant gets to work. Some snipping, gluing, and arranging result in an adorable house, complete with a bed, a table, and stamps pasted on the walls as art. This has all the hallmarks of a good picture book for preschoolers: a straightforward story line, an acknowledgment of feelings, and delightful artwork, here done in Kleven’s signature style. Mixed-media collage combines with watercolors, ink, pastels, and colored pencils to make cozy pictures with plenty of patterns and lots of texture that enhance an already solid story. Preschool-Kindergarten. --Ilene CooperSee all Editorial Reviews