July 09, 2012

The law of the jungle

By Michelle Robinson
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Attention safari fans! It’s a jungle out there, literally, and you’ve got to know just how to behave to avoid major obstacles, like those presented by the titular character of What to Do if an Elephant Stands on Your Foot.

In this playful tale by first-time author Michelle Robinson, an androgynous safari guide (expertly and emotively drawn by acclaimed illustrator Peter H. Reynolds) demonstrates how to navigate in the wild with varying degrees of success—and a lot of hilarity.

Great pacing and suspense-inducing text will pique young readers’ interest to see what happens next. As the story progresses, the tension and silliness mount, and soon kids, like our protagonist, will be jumping around like monkeys and flailing as if in crocodile-infested waters. The ending brings us back to the beginning, with stern but helpful warnings for our next safari.

Reynolds’ illustrations are always lively and clever; his pictures here of the hapless guide and uncooperative animals are no exception. As one might expect after being stepped on by an elephant or chased by a rhinoceros, the guide reacts with fear, frustration and eventually relief, all delightfully captured in Reynolds’ portraits.

The cacophony of animal sounds and the safari guide’s frenzied exclamations make this title ideal for preschool storytime—but be warned, it could get loud!

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What to Do if an Elephant Stands on Your Foot

What to Do if an Elephant Stands on Your Foot

By Michelle Robinson
Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN 9780803733985

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