Little Jumbo is baffled by his dad’s insistence on adding raisins to breakfast and his forgetting that Little Jumbo doesn’t like brown overalls, and the little guy is further unclear as to why his then shooting the aforementioned raisins at the ceiling or running around the neighborhood sans pants causes Dad to be upset. After some thought about Dad’s “bad day,” Little Jumbo decides that taking his dad to play catch and share and ice cream cone will be a great solution–and it is, carrying the duo for the rest of the day until a bedtime snuggle. This spices up familiar father-and-son narratives with its reversal, giving kids a new slant on familiar experiences. The text’s understated comicality (“Little Jumbo suggested that Dad needed a time-out”) is matched with smartly designed illustrations is digitally assembled pencil and pen. Setting sturdily but scratchily outlined elephants against crisp white pages gives the book a dashing design that’s enhanced by chick architecture and interiors, as well as by primary color accents that pop against the elephants’ grey skins and drab overalls. Little Jumbo and Dad are comically drawn with rotund middles but boxy appendages, and Koehler uses all of the potential of the characters’ trunks, ears, and great big smiles to cover the full range of pachyderm expression. With its sparkle that’s accessible to both parents and kids, this is poised to join the ranks of Steptoe’s In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall (BCCB 2/98), Mayer’s Just Me and My Dad, and Durand’s Mitchell’s License (BCCB 5/11) as a stellar book for father-and-son sharing.
~Thaddeus Andracki, The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books