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Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2016 PreSPreS-Gr 2—In this third offering in the series, Mouse and Elliot head to Coney Island for a day of "ice cream and cotton candy and popcorn…shows and games and lots of rides!" Though excited about the treats, the timid pachyderm vetoes almost every ride his friend suggests. The water chute is "too wet," the giant roulette wheel is "too dizzy!", and the roller coaster is "too fast!" After he loses his ice cream to a greedy seagull, an inadvertent misadventure in the fun house causes the little elephant to retreat under the boardwalk. But after a good time on the beach, he reluctantly agrees to try the Ferris wheel, which is depicted through a gatefold spread featuring a fabulous aerial view of the amusement park. Next, Elliot and Mouse brave the bumper cars, play skee-ball, and ride the carousel. When Elliot asks his friend about his favorite part of the day, Mouse doesn't hesitate. He says, "Being with you," to which Elliot replies, "Being with you is my favorite part of every day!" Charming endpapers display advertisements for myriad sideshow performers, including a tightrope walker, a tattooed lady, a magician, and, of course, "the incredible POLKA-DOTTED ELEPHANT." The detailed pencil drawings of old-time Coney Island are digitally colored in Adobe Photoshop. VERDICT This beautifully designed title is perfect for units on friendship, New York, or summer vacations. Sure to be a hit at a Big Fun storytime.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 08/01/2016 *Starred Review* Any child who has felt overwhelmed and scared in a new setting will identify with Little Elliot, a shy polka-dotted elephant, as he navigates an amusement park with his intrepid friend Mouse. Curato’s previous books were set in 1930s Manhattan, and his latest offers a wonderful portrait of old Coney Island, with its bustling crowds, sideshows, and towering rides. His pencil and digitally colored illustrations capture the story’s nostalgic tone with their details and muted palette. Once in the park, double-page spreads juxtapose an exciting ride that Mouse proposes going on, with Elliot’s fearful imaginings shown on the opposite page. For example, the water chute on the left page contrasts with Elliot plunging to the bottom of the sea on the right. Likewise, when faced with a roller coaster, Elliot pictures his polka dots flying off. Elliot panics and runs through the park, taking a breather under the boardwalk. The friends eat ice cream and build a sand castle on the beach, and Mouse convinces Elliot to try riding something more the elephant’s speed: the Ferris wheel. The gatefold four-page spread of the friends’ view from the top of the Wonder Wheel, which Elliot thoroughly enjoys, is breathtaking and rich with the purples and oranges of a sunset. A bravura celebration of the healing effects of acceptance and friendship. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.