Little Elliot, Big Family: A Picture Book Review

Little Elliot, Big Family by Mike CuratoWith Mouse away at a big family reunion, Elliot decides to take a walk in the city where he sees all kind of families. The more families he sees, the more Elliot wonders what it means to be on his own. But as Elliot soon learns, families can come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they might even choose you in Little Elliot, Big Family (2015) by Mike Curato.

Everyone’s favorite polka dotted elephant is back in this delightful follow up to author/illustrator Mike Curato’s debut Little Elliot, Big City. When Elliot is feeling very alone, his best friend Mouse comes to the rescue and invites Elliot to the mouse family reunion. Soon enough Elliot is enjoying the festivities and finds himself an honorary member of the mouse family.

Curato’s distinctive style once again brings New York City to life as Elliot travels around the city in Mouse’s absence. While the idea that families are unique is a familiar one in picture books, Curato’s illustrations add extra gravitas to make this story stand out.

Little Elliot, Big Family is another great story about a determined elephant and his unlikely friends (and family!). Great for story times or one-on-one readings.

Little Elliot fans should also check out the book website where they can join Elliot and Mouse’s family in their own family portrait: http://littleelliotbooks.com/portrait/91976/

You can also check out the book trailer:

*A copy of this book was acquired for review consideration from the publisher at BEA 2015*

Elmer and Butterfly: A Picture Book Review

Elmer and Buttefly by David McKeeEveryone’s favorite patchwork elephant is back in Elmer and Butterfly by David McKee.

When Elmer helps Butterfly get out of a hole blocked by a fallen branch, he doubts that she will be able to return the favor. Then Elmer wanders onto a narrow path and becomes trapped in a cave. With Butterfly’s help, Elmer’s cousin Wilbur and the other elephants mount a rescue.

This story reminiscent of the fable of “The Lion and the Mouse” but also includes McKee’s own brand of writing and humor.

Butterfly reminds readers that even the smallest animals can help a friend in need. McKee’s signature style includes high contrast and sharp detail on every page along with easy to read text. Bold colors and whimsical illustrations make this an excellent read-aloud choice, while longer text selections on each page make this book ideal for older storytime attendees as well.

*A more condensed version of this review appeared in an issue of School Library Journal from which it can be seen in various sites online*

Little Elliot, Big City: A Picture Book Review

Little Elliot, Big City by Mike CuratoElliot is a little elephant living in the big city. Amidst all of the hustle and bustle, Elliot finds a lot of things to enjoy–even with the unique challenges of being a small elephant in a big a city. Elliot especially loves cupcakes! Unfortunately, being so small, it isn’t easy to reach the counter and buy his special treat. When Elliot meets a white mouse who is even smaller than himself, Elliot realizes that new friends can be even sweeter than a tasty cupcake in Little Elliot, Big City (2014) by Mike Curato.

Little Elliot, Big City is Curato’s first picture book.

This delightful story of unlikely friends is visually stunning with beautiful illustrations of bustling New York City streets and even a picture of the iconic Flatiron building. Vintage cars and soft tones make this a quiet read that hearkens back to simpler times.

Elliot is a delightfully quirky and capable main character who is a real problem solver (at one point he uses a broom to get ice cream out of his freezer!). Curato’s sure drawing style and large illustrations bring Elliot to life and add a lovely dose of pathos to Elliot’s meeting with mouse. Readers will cheer when together Elliot and Mouse finally get their cupcake.

Curato’s deceptively simple text and intricate illustrations make Little Elliot, Big City a delight and definitely mark Curato as a picture book talent to watch.

You can also see the adorable book trailer for Little Elliot, Big City here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oRgom8YRnM