By: Deborah Stevenson Illustrated by: Morgan Spicer Publisher: Aperture Press Publication Date: December 2017 ISBN: 978-0-9995158-1-5 Reviewed by: Amy Lignor Review Date: February 20, 2018
As most kids will agree, visiting grandparents is absolutely awesome! Think about it…you’re talking home cooking, extra treats (that Mom always says ‘no’ to), and so much more. Joel is one of those lucky buggers who is spending his school break with Grandma Gussie and Grandpa Morris at their home in Florida. A place called Delray Retirement Village. Now…there are a few downsides to the visit, like always getting your cheeks pinched; and life can get a little boring when everyone goes to bed so early, but Joel is hoping beyond hope that he will have an adventure.
As soon as Joel arrives, his wonderful grandparents are right there to greet him (and, yes, pinch those cheeks of his). But once the pinching is over with, Joel smiles as they drive to the retirement community to begin their visit. The home cooked meal is awesome, as expected, but just as a bit of boredom is about to arrive, a moving van bigger than any Joel has ever seen pulls up on the cul-de-sac and parks. Out comes two extremely large elephants, moving into one of the houses across the street. There is a massive ‘buzz’ all about the retirement community in regards to the new residents, but Morris and Gussie go right over to introduce themselves and welcome their new neighbors.
The elephants are the Helfand family; Martha and Lou. It turns out that they are retiring here in Florida now that their circus days have come to an end. From water aerobics in the pool to lazing around on the sunny beach, both families spend time together. Other residents of the village are not as nice, like Mrs. Fox and Mr. and Mrs. Bell. They are more than a little annoyed when Mr. Helfand jumps into the pool and causes them to become soaking wet. But when a frightening event occurs and Mr. Helfand’s large trunk is needed, those negative opinions soon change. Although furniture gets broken, and many other humorous things occur, Joel ends up having the adventure of a lifetime.
This fantastic author/illustrator team, who also put together the award-winning title Soaring Soren, have a true gift. The fun plot addresses exactly where elephants go to retire and is based on the fact that circuses were banned from using the incredible animals in shows to improve the elephants’ health and welfare. The illustrations are vibrant, beautifully done, and will inspire ALL artists out there to chase their future dreams. This recipe of great story and brilliant drawings come together to make this book unforgettable. So unforgettable that your own grandchild may just see it and beg you to read it 24/7…at least, that’s what happened in my house. (Oy!)
Quill Says: An incredible read that’s entertaining, exciting, and downright awesome!