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Have You Seen Elephant?


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About the Author

David Barrow is a recent graduate of the Cambridge School of Art where he completed a Masters in Children's Book Illustration and received the top prize, the Sebastian Walker award for most promising children's illustrator. He lives in England with his wife and son.


"A small child plays hide-and-seek with a surprisingly elusive (except to viewers) elephant. 'OK. You hide, ' says the child. Says the elephant: 'I must warn you though. I'm VERY good.' The dark-skinned, springy-haired, and increasingly confused-looking child fruitlessly searches house and yard for the pachyderm--who positively dominates each scene whether 'hiding' beneath curtains, under a coverlet on top of the bed, or behind a skinny tree. Applying thin color to rough-surfaced paper with splashy, Chris Raschka-style freedom, Barrow supplies the questing child with parents (a biracial couple, to judge from family portraits on the wall), legibly hand-lettered dialogue, and a small dog who has no trouble at all seeing the elephant. A tap on the shoulder brings the game to an end at last, whereupon a tortoise's invitation to a round of tag presents an easier challenge. Or does it? 'I must warn you though....' Beyond the sheer absurdity, children will delight in details, such as the wide-screen TV the elephant holds in one scene, the child's dad so focused on the soccer game on the screen that he asks, 'What elephant?' and the sly alterations to the family portraits on the rear endpapers. Younger audiences will be screaming 'There it is!' from the get-go."--starred, Kirkus Reviews


"A game of hide-and-seek is the basis of this story, but with a humorous twist. An enormous elephant and a boy with scribbly brown curls are the players. Before they begin, the elephant discloses, 'I must warn you though. I'm VERY good.' Readers will easily spot Elephant on each spread as he attempts to disguise himself behind the drapes, under a comforter on a bed, and under a lampshade. Children will revel in being able to spot the elephant while the boy searches fruitlessly. Attentive readers will notice the boy's dog sniffing the elephant out in every spread. The mixed-media illustrations work masterfully to tell the story alongside the brief text, which consists exclusively of dialogue. The dynamic backgrounds are splashed with watercolor, and the figures are given soft edges, lending a dreamy quality to the story. The impressive use of light and shadow and incorporation of reds, oranges, and purples add a richness to the pages that will transfix children. In the final pages, a new character and a funny twist will entertain kids. VERDICT This amusingly absurd story paired with the warm and wonderful illustrations will have kids coming back again and again."--starred, School Library Journal


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