By Author / Illustrator
Anna Kemp, Adam Beer
Simon & Schuster Ltd
Paperback / softback
The funny, touching story of an Ice Age mammoth who finds himself in a modern day city from the bestselling author of Dogs Don't Do Ballet.
Big beast. Big city. BIG TROUBLE. When an Ice Age mammoth finds himself in a modern day city, he's not at all sure what to make of this huge, gleaming forest. Strange birds in the sky, strange beetles on the ground and strange, shouty cavemen. Is he the only mammoth in the WORLD?
A warm and and endearing story about finding your herd and a place to trumpet wildly from much-loved author Anna Kemp and exciting new illustrator, Adam Beer.
When an ice age mammoth finds himself in a modern city, he's not sure what to make of this huge gleaming 'forest'. Strange birds in the sky, strange beetles on the ground and strange, shouty cavemen.
This is a humorous yet touching story about finding your herd and a place to be yourself. This story resonates at such different levels. Children will love the illustrations and images of New York and descriptions of cars as beetles. Adults will love the message of the story as the mammoth did not find his herd by changing or trying to fit in, he found it by listening carefully and being himself.
Picture book / Reviewed by Amanda Shipton, librarian
Suggested Reading Age 3+
Mammoth, an amusing, poignant, fish-out-of-water picture book, is the first in a new author/illustrator partnership by the author of Dogs Don't Do Ballet and a debuting SCBWI award-winning illustrator. With themes of being left behind, loneliness, finding somewhere to belong and being understood, its an engaging and touching read.
Mammoth awakens from a deep sleep and emerges into an unrecognisable world. He sets out to find his herd but encounters very odd beetles (vehicles), unusual cavemen, and a land of shining trees (skyscrapers). Mammoth has awoken in modern-day New York City. As he explores this new world he tries, and fails, to fit in - his tusks get in the way when playing basketball and each time he thinks he has found his relatives he is disappointed; the trunk he thinks he sees turns out to be a road sweeper, for example; there are visual jokes throughout.
Together, Kemp and Beer create scenes that are emotive and symbolic. The despondency in the double-page spread where Mammoth goes on the rampage is wonderfully captured by the questions he asks: "Why did they leave him?", how he gazes directly at the reader, and the inclusion of the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of hope. Beer creates an endearing character through simple shapes and lines. Just the angle of the tusks and trunk portrays Mammoth's emotions and thus evokes the reader's empathy.
The happy, rewarding finale reminded me of David Litchfield's The Bear and the Piano through the way music provides a comfort and unites people; here, appropriately, brass instruments.
Picture book / Reviewed by Natalie J Plimmer
Suggested Reading Age 5+