Thursday, April 25, 2024

Doris by Lo Cole

Today's read, for some reason, just drew a smile from me right away. Maybe due to that happy elephant. Or the flowers? This one heads to the slightly younger end of the picture book world, and I'm hoping that means gentle fun. But I'm just going to have to open it up and, let's do that.

by Lo Cole
Union Square Press
Picture Book
28 pages
ages 3 to 5

A charming picture book about a very shy elephant and her fear of standing out.

Doris does NOT like to stand out. But as a red elephant, no matter where she hides, she is easily spotted. Whether hiding behind a flock of birds, within a bed of flowers, or among a school of fish, she can be seen. Can she find a way to build her confidence and embrace her colorful self?

Doris features bright, engaging illustrations that showcase the adorable main character, and readers will enjoy the repetition throughout this elephant book as Doris tries in vain to blend in. With strong social appeal and messages about embracing yourself, self-esteem, individuality, and accepting differences, Doris is perfect for kindergarten and preschool book libraries, or anyone looking for children’s books for ages 3-5. Young readers will delight in spotting Doris across pages filled with eye-catching artwork as she learns the importance of uniqueness and gains the confidence to finally say, "Look at me!"

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Searching and giggles mix with empathy and understanding to form a cute, fun read.

Doris is a bright, red elephant. No other elephants look anything like her, so she stands out everywhere she goes. And she hates it. Sometimes, she can hide. She's determined to find a place, where no one can notice her. This works somewhat...until it works a little too well.

This is one of those books, which will hold readers' attentions, have them excited to see the next page, and bring giggles, too. The idea is simple but draws listeners in as they not only sympathize with the little elephant but also need to search for Doris themselves. This search fits well to the age group and works even nicely for group readings; it's not difficult to find Doris but does it in a way, which will bring the 'there she is!' expression. More than a couple slightly silly situations add to the fun.

The illustrations are bright and bold. They stay simple in shape and don't concentrate on details. Sticking to what's important, they bring across the needed atmosphere in a basic way, which simply works. These also fit very well to the intended audience level.

There is a message centering around self-love and not being afraid to be different. Preachiness stays far away, though.  The message comes in very subtly and, yet, is hard to miss. The last page drives it home in a wonderful way, which surprises and brings a last, very big smile.

And here he is...

Lo Cole creates illustrations for an astonishing number of clients including The Times, New Scientist, Vogue, Sony Music, Greenpeace, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, and is published by HarperCollins, Penguin, and Walker Books, among others. He is the son of Joanne and Michael Cole, creators of the UK book and TV series Bod, first published more than 50 years ago. Lo lives in Gloucestershire, UK.

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