Max Eilenberg's children's picture book, Cowboy Kid, was the sequel to the Smarties Book Prize Gold Medal Winner, Cowboy Baby, illustrated by Sue Heap. Max lives in London with his partner, also a publisher, and their two sons. Patrick Benson has illustrated many titles, including Owl Babies and his own story Little Penguin. He won the Kurt Maschler Award for The Little Boat (by Kathy Henderson), which was also shortlisted for the Smarties Book Prize and Highly Commended for the Kate Greenaway Medal, and he was again shortlisted for the 2000 Kate Greenaway Medal for The Sea-thing Child, written by Russell Hoban.
This amiable toddler book about independence and planning ahead features a timorous baby elephant with whom young readers will easily identify. When his family is too busy to play, Squeak decides to brave the outside world himself. Each time he opens the door, he thinks of one more thing he needs a scarf, an umbrella, a picnic basket just to be "on the safe side." Benson (Owl Babies) adeptly captures Squeak's anxious anticipation of trouble. At the same time, the agreeable watercolor, pen and ink paintings feature cozy scenes and plenty of cheery spot art that lend a tone of reassurance to Squeak's solitary quest. Happily, as the apprehensive elephant takes literally one careful step at a time to the tree at the end of his walled garden, his worst fears are cheerfully allayed. Squeak's emotions are conveyed in the illustrations rather than the text, and Eilenberg's (Cowboy Kid) narrative captures spot-on the toddler mindset. Ages 2-6. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Patrick Benson's illustrations are perfect." The Daily Telegraph * "An accurate picture of how children can carry off a good idea." Nursery World
PreS-Gr 2-Squeak is ready to go outside, but he cannot convince anyone in his family to join him. So the young elephant carefully and thoughtfully prepares for his solo adventure, peering out the door to check the weather, adding articles of clothing, an umbrella, and a basket full of good things to eat, "just to be on the safe side." The quiet humor of this story is played out in the punch line-the great outdoors is a small, walled-in backyard. Benson's pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations perfectly capture the young one's trepidation, and his small universe. The gentle text with some repetitions makes this a good choice for a read-aloud.-Ann Cook, formerly at Winter Park Public Library, FL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.