Children’s Book of the Week: Half of an Elephant

Half of an Elephant by Gusti

If one were to give, say, The Missing Piece to a prospective suitor in an attempt to say, “Maybe we should get together,” one might give Half of an Elephant to a significant other as a passive-aggressive way of saying, “I think we should take a break.” The basic plot is that the world inexplicably splits in two, and an elephant (as well as a number of other unlucky animals) happens to be standing on the fault line during the split, and the front half ends up on one world, while the back half is on the other. They try to team up with the other halves of some different animals, but that doesn’t go very well. In the end, the world ends up whole, and the elephant halves find each other, but realize that there can be some advantages to being separate.

A very bizarre story, but for some reason the kids aren’t bothered by it and seem to just think it’s quirky and interesting (which it certainly is). But the best part about this book is the way it’s illustrated: each picture is made up of found objects, mostly of the hardware store variety, so that an animal might be made out of an old wooden ruler and some rusty washers and a spring. It’s an extremely inventive and intriguing style, and one that is fairly inspiring to young artists, I think. Definitely worth checking out.

Comments (2)

  1. sarah February 20, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Julie – This comment is for “Make a World” – your comments are off. Have you ever seen an Anti-Coloring Book? I had the whole series when I was little. I LOVED. It might be better in a year, but check them out. Make a World reminded me of them for some reason.
    I’ve made a list of all your books from this week and will go get them this weekend on the never ending attempt to avoid dinosaur books!

  2. Julie February 23, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Hey, thanks for telling me about the comments. Please always let me know if comments are turned off — sometimes it happens randomly.

    I had Anti-Coloring Books when I was little, and loved them so much. I’ve been thinking I’ll wait until Henry can read, because they strike me as the sort of thing you secretly take into your room and work on, almost like a diary, and it ruins it to have to ask your parents what you’re supposed to do on each page.

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