Monday, May 25, 2009

Review #29: Kidogo

Dad:  "Kidogo" by Anik McGrory...  I'm in love with it.  What do you guys think?
Gracie (age 8):  This book has really good descriptions: "Endless fields of rippling gold," and "Nights that were deeper than his dreams."
Lily (age 6):  This book has a little elephant.  Kidogo is the littlest elephant in the world.
Gracie:  He’s so cute!  The teeniest, tiniest elephant in the universe.
Lily:  Kidogo has no horns yet.
Dad:  I don't think any elephants have horns.
Lily:  Yuh-huh.
Gracie:  Tusks, Lily.  Horns are things monsters have on top of their heads.
Lily:  Kidogo is a little elephant that doesn't like being little.  Elephants are supposed to be humungo'.
Isaac (age 10):  So Kidogo goes off to find someone smaller than him.  When he was hunting for animals, he came across a hippopotamus, a lion, and a giraffe.  Each time, he thinks he has found a little animal.
Gracie:  Like with the lion -- at first he just saw the lion's tail, so it looked like a little guy.  But when the lion stood up, Kidogo freaked out and ran away.
Isaac:  He finds those big animals.  But there's always little animals behind him that he doesn't see because he never looks backwards.  He always looks forward for some reason.
Lily:  But finally he does find something even littler than him - ants!  And ants think Kidogo is a giant.  And Kidogo learns that he is just the right size.
Gracie:  What if the ants feel bad now?
Isaac:  If a baby ant thought he was the teeniest thing in the world, he really would have a problem finding something smaller than himself.
Gracie:  But what if there is another little guy, smaller than an ant, and he's just too small for us to see?
Dad:  Well, there are creatures we can't see.
Isaac:  There are?
Dad:  If we got a microscope, and took a little drip from the pond across the street, you would be amazed at the gazillions of itty bitty creatures in the soupy-zoo, swimming around in that one drop of water.
Isaac:  Let's do it!
Dad:  There's even tiny little creatures that live in your eyelashes.  They live there your whole life, and you never even know it.
Gracie:  Actually, I don't think those were ants in the book, Dad.  I think those are termites.  Because they are going up into that big termite hill.
Dad:  I agree.
Isaac:  Lookit - there's another little animal behind Kidogo in this picture.
Dad:  I didn't even notice it.  Kidogo doesn't see him either, does he?
Lily:  And I also didn't notice those little guys.
Dad:  Oh wow - me either!  Not until you just pointed them out.  This picture is full of little guys.  So this is kind of like a "look-and-find" book too.
Lily:  A frog!  And a bird!
Gracie:  And there's an animal!
Lily:  There's one!
Dad:  I don't know how many times I've read this, and I've never seen any of these little guys...
Isaac:  Look there's some animals right here.
Gracie:  Kidogo's not looking behind him.
Isaac:  They're always behind him.
Lily:  He doesn't see the little guys.
Isaac:  Kidogo, you've got to look behind you!
Dad:  So guys, tell me about the art...
Isaac:  The paintings are so cool!  It looks like she just splashed the different colors onto the drawings.
Lily:  It looks like little globs of goo.
Isaac:  It looks so beautiful.  I want to learn to do that.
Dad:  Now, sometimes a picture fills a whole page.  But do you know what a little picture like this is called?
Lily:  White space!
Dad:  Well, there is white space around it.  When there's white space around it, the picture is called "spot art."
Isaac: (singing)  Spotty art, spotty art, spotty-spotty-spotty art!
Dad:  Anything else you want to say about the drawings?
Gracie:  Just by the shape of his face, you can tell how Kidogo is feeling.
Isaac:  I'll show you: I won't read the words, but I can tell he's a little worried right here.  And here, he's -- okay I have no idea what that one is.  And in this one right here, he looks like he is stubborn... or something.
Lily:  He looks like he is drowsy.
Dad:  Drowsy!  That's a good word, Lily.
Gracie:  Mom taught her that word...  because Lily was being drowsy.
Isaac:  Kidogo is surprised right here.  And not so happy.
Dad:  The story doesn't even have to tell you his emotion.  You just look at his ears and you can totally tell how he's feeling.
Gracie:  Kidogo has emotional ears.  Very dramatic ears.
Isaac:  I don't think he talks at all in the whole story.
Dad:  No, he's an elephant.  Elephants don't talk.
Isaac:  Yeah, they go: Vvvvrooooooooooo-rooooooo.
Dad:  But there's no English-speaking animals.  So then, is this a realistic kind of story?  Or not realistic?
Isaac:  Realistic...  or... realistic-ish...  or... not-ish.
Dad:  No, it is.  It's set realistically.  I mean... it's not like the animals are wearing pants.
Gracie:  Dad, I think Kidogo must be a girl.  She has eyelashes.
Dad:  I have eyelashes.
Isaac:  I have eyelashes.
Gracie:  Yeah but in books, only girls have eyelashes.

Kidogo meets a rhinoceros, by Gracie

with a butterfly and bird at the termite mound, by Lily

Kidogo chasing a kingfisher, by Isaac

(Note: you can always click a picture for a closer view...)

Author/Illustrator: Anik McGrory
Published, 2005: Bloomsbury
Like it? Find it


ElizT said...

I am very fond of elephant knees.

Marianne said...

This sounds like a darling book. I can't wait to read it myself.

Z-Kids said...

Hope you enjoy it Marianne! It's one of my all-time faves. We own over 3000 kids' books, and I've read thousands-upon-thousands more, and Kidogo is probably in my top 15 favorite picture books of all time...

balqees said...

Hahaha I loved Gracie's comment about the eyelashes... So astute!

-Balqis (=^-^=)

Kim Baise said...

Super review guys! Now I must get my hands on this book for my little ones. They both LOVE elephants. We live right near the zoo. Two streets over and we can watch them through the fence! Such beautiful animals.
By the way, your artwork is Amazing!!!

Z-Kids said...

That's cool! I wish we lived by a zoo!

- Isaac

Anik said...

Hi guys! A friend just sent me a link to your review and I absolutely love your site! I'll have to show it to my kids - they are 7, 4 and almost 2. They will love what you are doing- great job.
Thanks for the kudos on Kidogo!