17 Kings and 42 Elephants
By Margaret Mahy; pictures by Patricia MacCarthy
Margaret Mahy’s picture book filled with kings atop caravans of elephants journeying to far off places is a delight. Its tongue twisters are matched only by the “unique batik” paintings of Patricia MacCarthy that invite you to get a leg up and climb aboard to escape the dull, dreary winter with this ride through a tropic paradise. You can’t miss with words “falling trippingly off the tongue” such as:
Seventeen kings on forty-two elephants
Going on a journey through a wild wet
Baggy ears like big umbrellaphants,
Little eyes a-gleaming in the jungle
The silly, nonsensical verses filled with eye-popping coloration are enough to fill the senses of any young reader with imaginings of distant, far off places where anything is possible. By possible I mean the sudden appearance of swinging or swimming gorillicans, hippopotomums and baboonsters to name a few. Along the way, the happy paraders, joined by gorgeous fluttering fantailed peacocks, alongside bubble gum-pink flamingoes, chant to “Ding Dong Bellicans!”er pelicans. You just have to go with the flow of this “Jabberwockey”-like speak of kings and everything but kangaroos. And you’ll want to. It’s a royal riot chock-a-block and awash with color and kingly cadences that kids will love. So please, let your kids lead on apace behind this imagination-driven trail of silhouettes in this man and animal menagerie before it disappears into the green jungle and leaves you behind! This captivating caravan of whimsical characters is worth the riotous ride and so be advised, grab on, and don’t miss this trip. The rockadiles alone are worth the ride and read!
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