- Elephant’s Story by Tracey Campbell Pearson
When Elephant comes across a little girl’s book, he’s curious, so he opens it up and starts sniffing. The print isn’t affixed very well to the page, though, and the letters shoot right up his trunk. Elephant then sneezes, but that turns “Once upon a time there was” into a mess of gibberish. None of Elephant’s animal friends are much help in getting things back in order, so Elephant sucks the letters back up. The book’s owner Gracie saves the day: when she finds that her missing book is now blank, she pulls and tickles the letters right back out and shows Elephant how to craft them back into a story. Unassuming and straightforward, this is a whimsical introduction to the idea that letters make up words, with a gentle nudge toward emergent literacies (although it will likely take either an old hat at recognizing words or a grownup’s direction to notice that the alligator who just wants to eat the letters up has rearranged them to say “chew” or that the juggling seal has jumbled them into “spin”). The messy line-and-wash illustrations enhance the playfulness with their relaxed, scribbly ink outlines and muddy watercolors in muted hues that often exceed their boundaries. Elephant’s horrified expressions as the other creatures nonchalantly toss the letters about add humor, while Gracie’s spiky ponytail, pastel outfit, and unflappable grin are classically Pearson. Pair this with Bottner’s An Annoying ABC [End Page 230] (BCCB 12/11) or a similar title for a chaos-inducing look at the alphabet, or simply use it up close as a personable introduction to decoding words.