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Month in review

Reviews:
Abramo's Gift by Donald Greco
American Rifle: A Biography by Alexander Rose
Birdsongs by Betsy Franco and Steve Jenkins
The Boy Who Sang for Others by Michael Meddor
Catamount by Marc Laidlaw
Changeling by Dean Whitlock
Cry of Justice by Jason Pratt
Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes
Does a Kanagroo Have a Mother, Too? by Eric Carle
An Elvish Sword of Great Antiquity by Jim Aikin
The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars by Jean Merrill
Fright Night Flight by Laura Krauss Melmed
The Gift of the Deer by Helen Hoover
The Guardian by Jeffrey Konvitz
Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg
I Choose You by Tracey West
Legs Talk by D. E. Boone
Llamas in Pajamas by Teddy Slater
Mama Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming
100 Years of California Cooking by Martha Lee
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems
Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale, Nathan Hale and Dean Hale
The Savage by David Almond and Dave McKean
Shadow of the Valley by Fred Chappell
Too Tall Alice by Barbara Worton
When Boston Won the World Series by Bob Ryan

Don Quixote:
Don Quixote: Judge a Book By Its Cover
Try to Remember
Divide and Conquer
Sancho's Big Score

Ulysses:
Episode 1 - Telemachus: Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy

Miscellaneous:
Don't Let the Pigeon Do an Interview

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars

The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small CarsThe Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars: 02/05/09

Jean Merrill may be best known for The Pushcart War (1964) but I know her through The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars (1967). This book about an elephant and his thing about smashing small cars is one my husband grew up with. It's really a strange book but oddly entertaining.

The story is simple and absurd. An elephant in some unnamed town terrorizes the highway by smashing all the small cars that drive by. When a car dealership opens up in his territory, the elephant gleefully smashes all the inventory. The dealer, not about to be chased away by this elephant gets his revenge. In the end the elephant learns his lesson but doesn't lose his love of smashing cars.

The illustrations by Ronni Solbert (who illustrated most of Merrill's books) are minimalist, lacking in the bells and whistles so common in illustrations for children's books. They are none the less effective and well suited for this bizarre story.

The elephant also has a theme song. The sheet music is included in the book on page seven. It's called "The Smashing Song." My kids love to sing it.

My husband grew up with this book. His family's copy has fallen apart from so much reading and he wanted to get a copy for our children. The process of finding a copy and then one that we could afford took about six years of on and off searching the various used book sellers on the internet. While the rest of Merrill's books seem to be still in print, The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars isn't. Instead it seems to be in some sort of publishing limbo. It's currently listed with a "new" price of $5.99 but it's not actually in print. The 1967 copies fetch a handsome price from $52 and up. The current most expensive copy is $200 but I've seen it offered for as high as $400. A year or so ago I found someone who didn't know the going rate for this book and I snatched it up for about $20 (including shipping).

It's a cute book and the four of us enjoy it but I personally wouldn't pay what most people sell it for.

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Comment #1: Friday, February, 6, 2009 at 08:51:21

Jeane

It looks hilarious. I've often been on years-long searches for books I love that are out of print- you had great luck finding this one!



Comment #2: Friday, February 6, 2009 at 21:45:12

Pussreboots

It is hilarious. I'm glad I stuck with the search. We are taking good care of the copy I found. Thankfully it's an ex-library book with a proper binding.


Comment #3: Friday, February, 20, 2009 at 11:30:42

Kendra

Our family went through a similar search to replace the much beloved copy we all grew up reading. Proof that we really need a copy for everyone in the family came this week when I agreed to take part in a local reading series (for writers reading other authors' works), only to discover that my mother can't find the new copy. Nor is it to be found in the public or university libraries of Iowa, Los Angeles, or Connecticut. I'd happily buy my own copy if it could arrive by the reading on Sunday, but as it is I'm looking for a source that could provide just the text. Anyone out there who can help?



Comment #4: Saturday, February 21, 2009 at 16:29:24

Pussreboots

Good luck!