Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-03-09
- Reviewer: Staff
Wu, an animator who has worked on many Pixar hits, makes his literary debut with a story ever-so-gently ripped from the headlines: the artwork-producing elephant. The eponymous heroine is desperate to help her compatriots save their zoo from closing, but she’s too small to make a dent in the needed cleanup and repair work. On a whim, Ellie picks up a paintbrush with her trunk and within a few pages, she is a not just a sought-after portraitist, but also a performance artist: “Soon, people from around the world came to see Ellie, the remarkable painting elephant.” Wu is a literal writer, but his visual storytelling, rendered in sweet, throwback-style watercolors, shows creativity and poise. Ellie, who looks like she’s a branch of Dumbo’s family tree, leads a cast of equally endearing animal characters, and every vignette is expertly framed for a chuckle, an “Awww,” or both: when Ellie paints a portrait of Lucy the giraffe, her subject’s head extends beyond the top edge of the page. Ages 3–5. Agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (May)