Sunday, January 13, 2013

Little elephants by Graeme Base

A little boy named Jim has to give up his pet mouse because, even though Pipsqueak is only one little mouse, Jim and his mother live on a wheat farm - and wheat farms are always in danger from plagues of mice, locusts, and weevils.  After letting Pipsqueak go in the fields far from the house, Jim returns home to find that the harvester is broken and they may not be able to bring in the harvest.  Not one to give up hope, Jim knows they will make it work somehow.  The next day Jim sees a stranger in their fields, gathering some of the wheat - rather than telling the man to go away, Jim offers him some wheat and asks if he can help with the harvest.  This is just the beginning of a strange and fantastical series of events for Jim and his mother.

Graeme Base is a gifted storyteller who creates fantastical adventures for children which are matched with some of the most beautiful and detailed illustrations in children's books today.  Each image is detailed with little touches that you discover only after you have read the story over and over again, images that keep the stories fresh and interesting - thoroughly dragging you into make believe worlds that are almost beyond belief.  While Little elephants is set in "our world" and does not have the detail of some of his other works, it is completely absorbing and heart warming - a reminder that a small kindness may be repaid ten fold (or a thousand fold).

If you like this book then try:  The eleventh hour by Graeme Base, The discovery of dragons by Graeme Base, TruckDogs by Graeme Base, Croc and bird by Alexis Deacon, and Possum magic by Mem Fox and illustrated by Julie Vivas.

~ Reviewed by Elspeth Sweetman

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