Markle, Sandra Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants. PICTURE BOOK. 25 pgs. Charlesbridge, 2017. $16.99. Content: G.
Based on a true story, Big Mama is a grandmother elephant, leading a herd in Tanzania, including a baby elephant. When water sources start to become scarce, she leads the herd to all the places she can remember, but there is just not enough water. Finally she remembers a place she visited decades before, during a similar drought, and takes the herd there. The end notes feature lots of interesting facts, including about But Mama and her herd.
The illustrations are not my favorite, many are over laid with a dark patina and many more just feel drab and dreary. This could be purposeful as the elephants get more thirsty, but it just lacks vibrancy, and the art feels dated. The story itself, including the backstory, and facts in the end notes are top notch. The book could be used for a unit for younger readers on African habitats and waterholes, or elephants or even animal intelligence. I would rate this higher, but the art just isn’t up to par. Honestly, the Charlesbridge non-fiction is just not on the same playing field as Lerner, who seems to better understand how to grab and hold the interest of todays readers.
EL(K-3) – OPTIONAL Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.