Picturebook Friday ~ Ollie the Purple Elephant

Knopf 2011

I love how this story begins: “Mr. McLaughlin had always told his children that should they ever come across a purple elephant, they could keep him.”

So of course, the McLaughlin children do find a purple elephant one day and the rest, as they say, is history….. (Well, not really, but I just like saying that.) Ollie is so happy to have a home and a family. He loves to play with the children, not enjoying soccer quite as much as ballet lessons. Most of all, he loves dance parties with his new family. But of course, not everyone loves having Ollie there…. The story takes a dark turn as Ollie is tricked into thinking his new family does not want him. He leaves to join the circus, where he makes some new friends. But he is not as happy as he was with the McLaughlin family. But fate takes Ollie back to his old neighborhood and he and the family are reunited after some heroics by Ollie and his new circus pals.

Jarrett Krosoczka’s illustrations are bright and bold, and have the feel of a cartoon, which kids will love. Simple lines and great facial expressions make it easy to understand the story even without reading the text. But of course, the text is brilliant, as in all of Krosoczka’s books. What really stood out to me was the use of some “bigger” words. I love this and I guess I am one of those critics/writers who feels you don’t have to “dumb down” a book just because it’s meant for kids. Not that this book is akin to reading Tolstoy, but you know what I mean. I like books that introduce kids to words they may not be familiar with.

There are also some very memorable characters, such as Ginger the cat. Her “disdain for Ollie” makes her deliciously evil. And though her plot to get rid of Ollie works for awhile, eventually there is a happy ending waiting on the last page. Well, not so much for Ginger.

Anyways, it’s a cute book. So read it already!

And watch the book trailer!

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Filed under Authors, Book Reviews, Children's, Picture Books

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