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Friday, May 17, 2019

Noodlephant, written by Jacob Kramer and illustrated by K-Fai Steele. Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2019. $25.95 ages 8 and up

"They called the machine
the Phantastic Noodler. It
was a very complicated, but
also very simple. With a few
turns of the crank, it could
turn anything into noodles.
Noodlephant tossed in some
pens. She turned the crank ... "

It is advantageous for our children to learn to have a say in things that matter to them; we don't want them to be afraid to express their opinions. In the political and social climate that permeates the world today, too many people think that the way they think is the only right way to do it. We all need to remember that we have a voice; it does not have to be in agreement with the anyone else. But, we do need to have a say and help garner the strength to work together to make our world, and our own lives, better.

This witty book will have kids thinking about that.

Noodlephant loves food. That's obvious from the nickname her friends have bestowed upon her, right? She adores pasta, and likes to share that love by cooking for all of her friends. The kangaroos are the exception. Their main concern is enacting laws deemed unfair to the rest of their community.

"They made laws about who could swim at the beach
                                                          (only kangaroos)
who could enjoy the Butterfly Garden
                                  (only kangaroos)
and who could make laws
               (only kangaroos)."

When they decree that elephants must eat sticks and branches, they also inform that, should the law be broken, elephants are to be confined to the zoo! The rest of the animals are not pleased; they love Noodlephant's pasta parties. It takes time and effort to design a new kind of machine to solve their problem.

"Those kangaroos are kanga-rude
Making rules about our food. 
Telling us how we should think
What we can eat and what to drink."

A few turns of the new machine, and pasta can be made from anything. The kangaroos are furious and call Noodlephant to 'kangaroo court'. There, she tries to plead her case. The verdict is rigged. Once confined to the zoo, she turns her protest up a notch ... a hunger strike. Worried, her friends seek and find a brilliant solution.

The comedic images created by K-Fai Steele add a welcome dose of fun to the pasta parties, a gloomy sense of sadness to the enforced imprisonment, and a satisfied smile for the cooperative solution to the community's difficulties. 

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