I Am Elephant
I Am Elephant
I Am Elephant
I Am Elephant

I Am Elephant

J. Patrick Lewis (Author)

Miriam Nerlove (Illustrator)

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Elephants, with their matriarchal societies, long memories, and demonstrations of emotional connections, are some of the world's most treasured animals. However, they are also among the most threatened. It is up to humans to protect them before it is too late.

Ages 6 – 10

Poetry, 32 pages, 2021

ISBN 978-1-56846-378-0

Companion title to I Am Polar Bear

Reviews

Addressing readers directly, the majestic elephant shares some general information about its characteristics, as well as its plight as an endangered species. From the perspective of the animal, learn about the behaviors and role of the female elephant, along with its symbolism in different cultures. Both African and Indian elephants are included. The text communicates information about distressing treatment of the animal and threats to its existence in natural settings. Teamed with the text are the pencil-and-watercolor illustrations. See how the pictures reflect a compassionate portrayal of the pachyderm as a caring matriarch. Note how the illustrations show the threat that looms over the beast of burden when it is treated as a spectacle. The text may be a springboard for further discussion about the elephant and other animals that are endangered or vulnerable. No additional resources are listed, although the author includes some additional information at the back of the book. Readers may also want to consider reading Lewis’s earlier book, I am Polar Bear.

Children's Literature, September 2021

Reviews

Abundant, stylized watercolor drawings of elephants are accompanied by a sparse text in which an elephant narrator presents scattered information about both African and Asian elephants.The book itself is well crafted, with an appealing layout on sturdy, high-quality, glossy white paper. The large, sans-serif print stands out expertly, and the complementary art is reproduced in colorful, detailed glory. This attention to production and the limited number of poetically arranged words—none of which are scientific—make the book appear to be a young child’s introduction to a representative of a magnificent, endangered species. Indeed, most of its initial text and art support this idea. For example: “Someday, I will be like my mother and grandmother—slow-motion majesty.” Nice, too, to learn the Greek derivation of elephant and to have passages citing positive references to the animals from both Hindu and Buddhist traditions. However, the penultimate and final double-page spreads take a deeper, darker turn in both text and art. Instead of a sweet ending to lull children into bedtime, it is the stuff of nightmares. There are other, better books that will encourage children’s interest in elephant conservation, including Elephants Walk Together, by Cheryl Lawton Malone and illustrated by Bistra Masseva(2017), and Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants, by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck (2017), for the youngest, and The Elephant, by Jenni Desmond (2018), for slightly older readers. Lyrical and disturbing.

Kirkus, 08/01/2021

Addressing readers directly, the majestic elephant shares some general information about its characteristics, as well as its plight as an endangered species. From the perspective of the animal, learn about the behaviors and role of the female elephant, along with its symbolism in different cultures. Both African and Indian elephants are included. The text communicates information about distressing treatment of the animal and threats to its existence in natural settings. Teamed with the text are the pencil-and-watercolor illustrations. See how the pictures reflect a compassionate portrayal of the pachyderm as a caring matriarch. Note how the illustrations show the threat that looms over the beast of burden when it is treated as a spectacle. The text may be a springboard for further discussion about the elephant and other animals that are endangered or vulnerable. No additional resources are listed, although the author includes some additional information at the back of the book. Readers may also want to consider reading Lewis’s earlier book, I am Polar Bear.

–Carrie Hane Hung, Children's Literature, 09/01/2021

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