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Friday, December 5, 2014

Little Elliot, Big City. by Mike Curato. Henry Holt and Company, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2014. $18.99 ages 4 and up

"He had trouble
opening doors.
And he could never
catch a cab.
Even life at home
was a bit challenging.

Still, Elliot enjoyed
the little things...

...small treasures..."

I fell in love with Elliot the minute I saw him gracing the cover of Mike Curato's debut picture book! I surely hope that I will meet him again - and soon, please.

He's pretty tiny for an elephant. He's certainly intimidated by the size, sounds and never ending difficulties in  navigating 1940s New York City. There is so much he cannot do because of his size. Often, people do not even notice he is there. Poor Elliot!

There is only one thing that he really wants - a cupcake. The clerk in the bakery doesn't see him offering money for the treat he so desperately desires. Again, poor Elliot! Only one tiny girl, close to his size, takes note of his sadness. His walk home is very gloomy, indeed. That is, until he meets someone in worse straits than he is. In that moment, the two get just exactly what they need - a good and loyal friend.

Recognizable are some of New York's most iconic buildings and its busy streets and crowded subway. Elliot makes his way past them in his quest to find that one small 'treasure'. Mike Curato uses cupcakes on the endpapers as an invitation to taste his story, then fills its pages with images using rich earthy tones and a retro feel to show us the many small injustices of life for Elliot. Infused light gives each double page spread a warm glow, and assures a feeling of well-being as we say goodbye to the tiny pachyderm.


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