Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Elephant in the, Um, Intersection: Poe Won't Go by Kelly DePucchio

Prickly Valley has a public problem.

One morning the good people awoke to find an elephant sitting smack dab in the middle of the only road in town.

His name was Poe.

It didn't take long for a traffic jam to form around the uninvited elephant.

Not exactly what everyone wants--a sedentary elephant in the center of the roadway!!

The city's sole thorofare is not passable. Nobody's going anywhere in Prickly Valley until that pachyderm is persuaded to get a move on. Honking horns don't faze him. Parking tickets don't work. Pot-and-pan percussion is not persuasive. Trombone glissandos don't do it. Politicians' orations and proclamations fizzle.

People begged. PLEASE?

And booed. JEEZ!

And bribed. CHEESE?

Mice fail. Magnets don't avail. A magician's disappearing spells don't prevail.

When will Poe go? Nevermore?

Until one little girl named Marigold poses the pertinent question.

"Has anyone asked Poe why he won't GO?"

Marigold is fluent in kitten and articulate in hedgehog, so she agrees to interpret for Poe.

"He says he's waiting for a friend. His friend is very late."

But his expected pal is a lot closer than Poe knows. He's not under Poe's nose, exactly, but even, er, closer... in Kelly DiPucchio's latest, Poe Won't Go (Disney Hyperion, 2018). Author DePucchio's way with a well-placed rhyme and appreciation of absurd plot twists (the townspeople try to lift the recalcitrant pachyderm off his bum with bunches of helium balloons) make for plenty of giggle-bait for youngsters with well-planted page turns. The artwork and hand-lettered text by illustrator Zachariah Ohora is outstanding in its ability to evoke the absurdity of the whole situation and encourage scrutiny of the many characters in the crowd. This one is an engaging read-aloud for preschoolers and a fun read-alone for young readers.

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