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Helen MacInnes
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Laura Joh Rowland

Mik's Mammoth (A Sunburst Book)

Mik's Mammoth - Roy Gerrard My niece and nephew generally don't seem to care much for rhyming stories. Mik's Mammoth is a story that is told in rhyme, but it is so elegantly executed that I don't think the kids even noticed! Roy Gerrard does a masterful job of creating stories in rhyme, and he does so without resorting to the Seussian method of fabricating words. The vocabulary in Gerrard's stories is wonderful--at several points one or the other of the children stopped me and asked me to define a word for them. I love it when books use language that challenges kids to expand their vocabularies!

Gerrard also draws his characters in such a fabulous way. His characters are drawn as diminutive beings, kind of round and cherubic in appearance. His little mammoth was a ball of cuteness without becoming cartoonish. This illustration technique enables kids to really identify with the characters in a story. From the first page my niece and nephew were hooked by Rumm (the mammoth), and were totally engrossed in the story of the friendship between Mik and this beast. Gerrard sets off the diminutive size of his characters by drawing them in gorgeous settings, in this case, against beautiful landscapes. I think that this ability to create intimacy in what is clearly a big world enriches Mik's Mammoth even further, and probably mirrors what little kids feel like in their big world.