by Ed Young
: In a stunning celebration of color Caldecott medalist Young ( Lon Po Po ) offers a vibrant variation on the fable of the blind men trying to identify an elephant. Seven differently-hued blind mice approach the ``strange Something'' in their midst on successive days and report their findings to the group. A large black square provides the background for each painting, a dramatic contrast to the brilliant images ``felt'' by the sightless rodents. Young's textured, cut-paper illustrations allow readers to visualize just how a floppy ear might be mistaken for a fan (``I felt it move!''); the elephant's curving trunk springs to life as both a jewel-green snake and a glowing yellow spear. The spare text permits greater exploration and enjoyment of the artwork--it may be difficult to read the story straight through without stopping to compare the various images. The ``Mouse Moral'' that concludes the tale--``Knowing in part may make a fine tale, but wisdom comes from seeing the whole''--may seem superfluous to those who prefer the imaginative ``vision'' of the mice. Ages 4-up.
Copyright 1992 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms
School Library Journal
: K-Gr 3-- A real winner, on many levels. The first impression is visual delight. Brilliant colors and varied textures of paper collage are placed in striking contrast against velvety black pages. Bold white lettering imposed on the dark background tells of seven blind mice, seen in seven bright colors. Over the course of a week each investigates, in turn, the strange ``Something'' it encounters. To one it is a pillar, to another a snake, to another a cliff. Finally, on the seventh day, the white mouse, running across the thing and remembering what the others found, concludes that it is an elephant. The tale ends with the moral that wisdom comes from seeing ``the whole.'' Adapting the old fable of the blind men and the elephant by weaving in the days of the week, the mice, and the beautiful shapes of the things they see, Young gives children a clever story, wise words, and a truly exciting visual experience.
Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms