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Bri Meets Books

Children's and YA literature reviews.

Category Archives: lane smith

When I saw a new Lane Smith book had arrived in my store, I jumped for joy. Not literally, because that would scare the customers. Smith’s new book, Big Elephant in the Room is good, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the classic The True Story of the Three Little Pigs or The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Tales.

The Big Elephant in the Room is the story of two donkey friends. As you can see by the cover, one is portrayed as a geeky donkey, complete with bow tie and glasses. The other is the “cool” friend. The nerdish donkey says to the other, “Can we talk about the big elephant in the room?” The cool donkey then gives a list of reasons that his friend might be mad at him, and deeming the elephant in the room. These start out simple enough, such as eating all the ice cream. But the reasons soon escalate into pure meanness – making fun of a backup, breaking a computer, and the list goes on.

I can appreciate the differentiation Lane Smith attempts with the two “vastly different friends,” adhering to that old standby, “opposites attract,” but in doing so, the other friend comes off as just a bully. The list of reasons could’ve been less harmful, for example, maybe the cool donkey beat his friend at a video game, or something. Less malicious things such as not defending your friend after he’s picked on. Maybe a parent could use this as a two lessons in one: How to be a friend, and what is an idiom. But sadly, I found nothing really special that warranted a second read. Not even the end made me crack a smile.

That said, I love the layout style of the book, and the illustrations are still worth a look, but the story deeply disappoints.

Title: The Big Elephant in the Room
Date: July 2009
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Pages: 32
Format: Hardback

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