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An Elephant is Not a Cat: 10/20/19

An Elephant is Not a Cat

What is it about cats and elephants? What is it about comparing one to the other? Or pretending that one is the other? Recent examples of this picture book phenomena are My Cat, the Silliest Cat in the World and When the Silliest Cat Was Small both by Gilles Bachelet.

But forty-four years before the latest Bachelet book there was An Elephant is Not a Cat by Alvin Tresselt, written for Parents Magazine. It's set in the Netherlands at a wind mill that specializes in corn meal. I frankly have never heard of the Dutch growing corn, but it's apparently one of their top crops along with barley, potatoes, surgar beets, and wheat (Nation's Encyclopedia, (accessed June 15, 2017)

The gist of the plot is that a mouse has gotten into the mill and is seen helping itself to the corn kernels. So the husband is sent off to get a cat and comes back with an elephant.

The elephant besides being too big and completely ineffectual at hunting mice, ends up eating through most of their clients' corn. Again, while reading this book, I was having trouble imagining an elephant in a wind mill eating corn by the ton, but apparently they can eat corn. They prefer grass, fruit, bamboo, and bananas. But if corn is what is available, they will eat it. An elephant can eat between 330 to 660 pounds of food every day. ("What do Elephants Eat", Macroevolution. Accessed June 15, 2017) So yeah, an elephant would be a bad idea.

While An Elephant is Not a Cat seems like a strange product of the early 1960s, it's apparently grounded in facts. Or at least built plausibility of certain facts. It's a story that reads as surreal but isn't as surreal as it seems.

Three stars

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