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by Graeme Base

illustrated by Graeme Base


School Library Journal:

Gr 2 – 4 — Near the ruins of Angkor Wat, Tiger, Gibbon, Water Buffalo, and Gecko argue about who would make the best king. A resplendent Elephant challenges them to travel to the temple on a distant hill. Along the way, the animals encounter situations that reveal both strengths and weaknesses in their characters. After they all arrive at the destination, Elephant’s comments about the journey help them to realize that none of them has all the attributes of a great ruler. Exploring the temple, they encounter fantastic carvings of the Elephant King, who possessed strength, compassion, resilience, and courage. Although the moral of the story is obvious, the book’s attraction lies in its magnificent, detailed illustrations of the Cambodian jungle and the ancient temple ruins. Snake coils across spreads, interacting with each animal on its journey. Details from Angkor Wat’s Elephant Terrace appear not only in the final, large illustrations but also in borders around scenes throughout the book. Base challenges sharp-eyed readers to find a butterfly in each scene. Undoubtedly, this tale will encourage some children to learn more about the history and excavation of Angkor Wat as well.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankato –Kathy Piehl (Reviewed July 1, 2014) (School Library Journal, vol 60, issue 7, p61)


2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, Ages 0-8, Folklore