Friday, October 26, 2018

Review - The Saggy Baggy Elephant

The Saggy Baggy Elephant
by Kathryn Jackson & Byron Jackson
illustrated by Gustav Tenggren
Date: 1947
Publisher: Golden Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: library

After a parrot makes fun of Sooki’s big ears, long nose, and wrinkled skin, the “saggy baggy” elephant isn’t too sure of himself. But once he meets some beautiful creatures who look just like him, Sooki celebrates with a joyful “one-two-three-kick.” For over 50 years, parents and children have treasured this tale, with gorgeous art by Gustaf Tenggren, the illustrator of The Poky Little Puppy.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Of course I never noticed when I was little, but the writing on some of these Little Golden Books isn't the best. No matter the author, many seem to have a tendency to use impossible said bookisms (characters smiling or grinning their speech, for example).

This particular story is much like "The Ugly Duckling", except that the poor elephant wasn't raised by anyone. That brings up more questions than it answers (although I do wonder if that lion might've had something to do with it; did Sooki's parents get eaten at some point?). The parrot is the one that points out that Sooki doesn't look like anything else in the jungle, and he's not nice about it, either; the stupid bird laughs at the elephant, just because he looks different.

I really don't understand why Tenggren was such an acclaimed illustrator. The pictures are just okay for me. I'm not a fan of the way some of the animals look like they're on drugs (what is with their eyes?). Maybe there just weren't a lot of people doing illustrations for children's books back then. Compared to the wonderful variety in the gorgeous illustrations we get from the many talented artists working today, Tenggren's pictures don't quite measure up.

I honestly don't remember this particular Little Golden Book from my childhood, though I may have read it and just forgot. It's not particularly memorable, and I doubt I'd bother reading it again. Though it has a decent message, it's not that original... and there are probably more recent books that have the same theme that kids would enjoy more.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.67 out of 5

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