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The Elephant in the Room

Written by James Thorp

Illustrated by Angus Mackinnon

The Elephant in the Room Synopsis

Someone has smashed Father Giant's favourite elephant. It wasn't Olive and her brother Grub. Nor was it the naughty newt, the laughing lady or the yucky yak. So WHO is the culprit? A magnificently madcap mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end.

The Elephant in the Room Press Reviews

Someone has smashed Father Giant's favourite china elephant. It wasn't Olive and her brother Grub. Nor was it the naughty newt, the laughing lady or the yucky yak. So who is the culprit? The Elephant in the Room is far from your average picture book, with its distinctive and striking images throughout and rollicking rhythmic text, which is a joy to read aloud. It's completely captivating, especially with the use of the popping neon colour throughout the artwork, giving it a surreal twist. There's also a lovely message about families spending time together. This is a magnificent magical mystery that keeps you guessing until the very end about who the culprit might be. * Book Trust * Somebody has smashed Father Giant's elephant. Who on earth could it be? Can Father Giant unravel the mystery of what happened, and who will face being banished from the house forever once he discovers the truth? Told in a rhyme that gets more and more surreal as it goes along, this is a wild and brightly illustrated mystery story, with an interesting moral at the end. The first thing that strikes you with this book is the colour scheme. It's loud, and in your face, full of neon orange that makes you open your eyes wide with each turn of the page. The illustrations feel like something designed for the Beatles, a mixture of Yellow Submarine and Sargent Pepper! It's very stylistic, lots of flowing lines, simplistic faces and surreal items such as talking and walking sofas! The backgrounds are mostly black, or dark colours, so the whole feel is quite different to a typical children's picture book and becomes less of a story, and more of an experience! The story itself works well, flowing from page to page with increasingly surreal events, a little like a Dr Seuss, though without the made-up words. The story of why the elephant got broken becomes very complicated, in the way that long, rambling tales from small children often can, but the result is that actually, the culprit behind it all is most likely Father Giant himself, because he was too busy and grumpy to play with the children! Father Giant suggests that he must then leave the house, since he is at fault, but the children insist that they can all work together to fix the elephant. The typeface used is rather unusual, with a strangely curved lowercase letter v and w. I wouldn't normally comment on a font in a book, but this one was so distinctive that it did interrupt my first read through of the book as I had to keep checking I'd read words correctly whenever they contained one of these letters! I also found some of the colour choices for the text and background weren't the easiest to read - mauve text on black is tricky to read in low level bedtime lighting. I wondered about accessibility, and I think it would be off-putting for those with dyslexia, both children and adults. However, I did like the page about the smashed elephant where the lines staring at the broken pieces scattered on the floor' are themselves broken up and scattered down the page. It's a clever effect, and it's a shame there weren't other interesting uses of the text like this within the book. The style of the book isn't my favourite, to be honest, but it's very well done and very distinctive. I'm sure there are many grown up picture book aficionados who will love it because it is very unusual! For me, the incredibly loud illustrations detracted from the text. I'd suggest taking a look at it first. Perhaps it will be your most favourite book ever! But personally, it wasn't exactly my cup of tea, and hasn't gone onto the favourites pile in our house. -- Ruth Ng * Book Bag * 'It started with an Oops! and Look out! and a CRASH!' opens this delightful 'whodunnit' story, a tale that unravels step by step in flowing rhymes until the mystery of the broken china elephant that fell off the mantelpiece is resolved. Father Giant's investigations follow the chain of events which involve his little son, a newt, a lady, a yak, a sofa, the sun and a storm, all playing a part in the rumpus. The incidents leading to the crash are far-fetched and will delight every reader, but eventually it is a little girl who offers the explanation for all the chaos. The resolution is a happy one and all the characters join in a colourful parade splashing in muddy puddles. This book is the first one produced by Thorp and MacKinnon in collaboration with a mainstream publisher, following two self-published books. This volume is a striking hardback, whose font and illustrations, full of curvy lines and vibrant clashing colours, suggest an Art Nouveau influence to which the bright blocks of fluorescent orange add a twist, with a nod to the 1960s'-style graphics. The setting is also delightfully reminiscent of a bygone era, with a grandfather clock and multiple portraits adorning an imposing hall, with chandeliers and Chinese vases furnishing the drawing room and a vintage car waiting in the drive. An array of details and lovely shapes wait to be discovered in every page adding enjoyment to the story. A second book by this creative duo will be published in 2018 by Templar; we look forward to it. * Armadillo *

Book Information

ISBN: 9781783707737
Publication date: 12th October 2017
Author: James Thorp
Illustrator: Angus Mackinnon
Publisher: Templar Publishing
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 48 pages

About James Thorp

James Thorp (Author) James Thorp was brought up on a farm in Gloucestershire. He is a musician and writer and once spent a year in San Francisco as apprentice to the poet Harold Norse. He is the author of two books illustrated by Angus Mackinnon - The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race (Digital Leaf, 2013) and Dog on Stilts (Digital Leaf, 2014). He lives in Notting Hill. Angus Mackinnon (Illustrator) Angus Mackinnon is the Creative Director of a digital creative agency. He lives near Richmond. He is the illustrator of The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race (Digital Leaf, 2013) ...

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