Author: Michael Engler
Illustrator: Joelle Tourlonias
Publisher: Peter Pauper Press
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Story Element #7 WORD PLAY I chose this book off the shelf because the title was intriguing and coincidentally a fun word! There are lots of ways that authors use word play in their writing. And, one of them is to create a new word which is immediately understood by the reader. Many times this is done by combining two known words into one. Sometimes, it’s a brand new word.
In this story, Andrew only half listens to what his mother tells him about the package in the hall. When he’s finished drawing his treasure map, he notices the package that his mother was telling him about earlier. Thinking it must be for him, he opens it and immediately falls in love with a giant stuffed elephant named Timbo. Andrew could hardly believe his luck… a talking elephant. Timbo tells Andrew all about his adventures in Africa. Then Andrew and Timbo have some adventures of their own.
Andrew looked into the wild forest beyond and thought, ‘This is elephantastic!’
There is no confusion about what Andrew meant by ‘elephantastic’. The author combined two well known words to create a new one which describes Andrew’s feelings perfectly.
Just then, Andrew hears his mother calling. She finds him playing under the bed with Timbo. Oh, no! Mother realizes what has happened and explains to Andrew that the package was for Louise who lives upstairs. Andrew follows his mother upstairs and gives Timbo to Louise. She is overjoyed that her birthday present from her grandparents has finally arrived. Andrew runs back to his own apartment crying. At dinner, Andrew can’t eat. Just then the doorbell rings. It’s Louise and she’s holding Timbo. She tells Andrew that Timbo misses him. Andrew gives Timbo a hug and asks Louise if she would like to go on an adventure with him.
Louise smiled and said, ‘That would be elephantastic!’
The story ends on the title word. What young reader would not want to use that new word in his/her next adventure? A wonderful way to express a common idea in an uncommon way! Try it yourself..