Sir Ambrose Elephant is a great believer in following his nose. He’s also a great believer in the many life lessons he learned from his “dearly departed old mother,” as he calls his mother throughout the book. Unfortunately, his trunk is rarely pointing in the right direction and his “dearly departed old” parent didn’t actually pass on, she is just visiting her sister, leaving her young son free to get into a spot of trouble. When Ambrose sets off alone to find the city, he learns to rely upon the kindness of strangers to fulfill his dream and, ultimately, find his way home.
Sir Ambrose Elephant isn’t the brightest beast in the jungle. He is, however, kind-hearted, polite and friendly, with a profound hankering for adventure. These characteristics serve him well as he sets off to explore the big, wide world. Very quickly, Ambrose learns just how confusing, curious and dangerous the world can be. Simply crossing a road can place an elephant in mortal danger! After a few false starts, the big elephant learns how to ride a bike and to avoid the zoo at all costs. He also learns that Secretary Birds know everything. These are the sorts of practical skills one never learns from one’s parents.
E. Smith has written an amusing storybook with a repetitive, sing-song quality children will like. Ivy Marie Apa’s bright illustrations deliver lively visual details and humor that nicely match the tone of the text. That said, the book’s overall design is not as successful. The designer has included too much text per page for the age of this book’s intended audience. In addition, the text includes occasional misspellings that distract. (For instance, the word “no” is spelled “noo,” several times, and “pole” is spelled “poll.”)
Because this is really a chapter book disguised as a picture book, it may have a difficult time finding the right audience.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.