Mela and the Elephant
Mela and the Elephant
Publisher's Hardcover14.44
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Annotation: Mela ends up in trouble when her little boat is swept into the dense jungle. She offers each animal she meets a prize for helping her find her way home, but the animals take their rewards without helping--then an elephant shows Mela that kindness is its own reward.
Genre: [Animal fiction]
Catalog Number: #157538
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Chen, Ziyue,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-585-36998-5
ISBN 13: 978-1-585-36998-0
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2017029811
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Mela is a bold and adventurous girl who thinks nothing of setting off to explore the riverbank on her own. When her brother asks if he can accompany her, she refuses because he has nothing to offer in return. Thus, her journey along the river becomes a cautionary tale. Mela's boat gets trapped, and she finds herself lost and dependent on the jungle creatures to show her some kindness and direct her home. In a predictable parallel, the animals will only help her if she gives them something. Set near the Ping River in Thailand, this story has the trappings of a contemporary folktale, with a lesson about kindness awaiting Mela and the readers. Cheerful illustrations in a palette of glowing jungle colors offset the perils of a child alone in a forest. Mela's predicament is happily resolved by a kindly elephant, and she learns to change her opportunistic ways. An author's note about Thailand provides brief cultural context with explanations about geography, customs, and concepts.
Horn Book
After acting selfishly, Mela gets lost in the jungle near her northern Thai village. She requests help from different animals, offering her possessions as rewards. Ultimately, only a kindly elephant helps her, and for nothing in return. Mela learns a valuable lesson about generosity and gratitude in this original fable with a folkloric, repetitive cadence and verdant digital illustrations. Includes a note on Thailand.
Publishers Weekly
Phumiruk (Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines) takes readers to the country of her birth in an instructive contemporary fable about kindness, set in a village in Northern Thailand. A girl named Mela sets off to explore the nearby banks of the Ping River, refusing to bring along her younger brother. -What will you give me if I take you?- she asks, but he has nothing. The decision comes back to bite her after she-s swept away by the current and winds up far from home. Mela meets a crocodile, leopard, and monkeys, who ask her the same question she asked her brother when she requests their assistance. She offers them her belongings, which they take-and then abandon her. Eventually, an elephant arrives to help and deliver the book-s central message that -kindness needs no reward.- It-s not a subtle story, but it-s still a potentially useful tool for conversations about generosity, and Chen-s digital artwork, rendered in an array of creamy greens, brings the verdant setting to life. Ages 7-8. Author-s agent: Deborah Warren, East-West Literary. Illustrator-s agent: Mela Bolinao, MB Artists. (Mar.)

Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (12/1/17)
Horn Book (4/1/19)
Publishers Weekly
Word Count: 655
Reading Level: 3.3
Interest Level: 1-4
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.3 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 197205 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: AD610L

2019 Colorado Book Award Finalist Recognized in The 50 Best Multicultural Picture Books of 2018

Mela sets out to explore the river outside her village but quickly ends up in trouble when her little boat is swept downstream and into the dense jungle. She encounters a crocodile, a leopard, and some monkeys, offering each a prize return for helping her find her way home but the animals snatch up their rewards without helping Mela back to her village. Just when she's about to give up, an elephant shows Mela that kindness is its own reward. This new fable is told with authentic Thai customs and includes an author's note with more Thai traditions and language.

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