Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants – by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck


       Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants – by Sandra Markle, illustrated by Fabricio VandenBroeck, Charlesbridge, (9781580896344), 2017.

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Rating: 1-5:  (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Non-fiction

What did you like about the book? After their usual sources dry up during a drought in Tanzania, a herd of elephants, led by a grandma elephant and trailed by Little Calf needs to find water. The herd undertakes an arduous trek with several false stops, until finally the grandma leads the herd to an oasis she remembers from when she was a calf. Gorgeous acrylic and watercolor illustrations convey the elephants’ dire situation and eventual discovery of the water that will sustain them. In a playful scene that fully relieves the earlier tension, Little Calf accidentally sprays Grandma and in return gets sprayed, too. End pages contain facts about elephants, an author’s note explaining that the story is based on a real-life elephant named Big Mama who, in 1994, similarly saved her herd, and suggestions for finding further information. This is a top-notch offering.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  The image when Little Calf drops from heat exhaustion is heart-rending.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended as a K – 2nd grade classroom read-aloud to supplement units on elephants or Africa.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve in 599.674 with other narrative non-fiction about elephants.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Top half of the pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review:  8/7/17

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