Synopses & Reviews
In his childrenand#8217;s book debut, fine artist Alex Beard brings to life an African savanna filled with humor and misunderstandings.
When Bird mixes up something Turtle says, he accidentally starts a rumor about the watering hole drying up. One misunderstanding leads to another, with animals making their own hilarious assumptions.
No one is hearing anything right, and soon the animals are in an uproar from one end of the jungle to the other. Elephant is trumpeting, Croc is snapping, and the Flamingos are fleeing! Beardand#8217;s story will have every child wondering if peace can ever be restored in the animal kingdom.
Alex Beard has two galleries, one in New Orleans and the other in New York City. Along with his paintings and prints, he has created a line of puzzles that was launched through national accounts in fall 2008 and spring 2009. Puzzles based on The Jungle Grapevine will be launched in conjunction with this book in fall 2009.
"More pointed than Beard's The Jungle Grapevine and Monkey See, Monkey Draw, this offering also showcases his expressive, angular renderings of African animals. Working in pen-and-ink and watercolor, Beard uses wispy, swirling lines and bold shapes to create sky and flora. In the foreground, Rhino and Tickbird try to determine why Crocodile is crying. Afraid to approach him, the two go in search of 'a wise golden eagle,' who suggests that Crocodile might miss the elephants. 'heir trumpets rarely sound anymore,' the eagle says, adding, 'If you can find an elephant, you could ask him' about Crocodile's distress. 'If you can find...' is the repeated, operative phrase in the gentle if somewhat poky narrative, which sends Rhino and Tickbird from animal to animal, some of which (Beard explains in a note) are endangered, but all of which live in an environment 'under siege.' The idiomatic meaning of 'crocodile tears' isn't mentioned, but lest things seem too dire, Beard delivers a playful twist ending that reminds readers that a crying crocodile is still a crocodile. A photo-essay about each species underscores the book's ecological message. Ages 4 — 8." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Black Rhino and Tickbird want to know why Crocodile is crying. They search the African landscape for other animals who might know the answer. The few they find suggest Crocodile is sad that so many of them face extinction. But when Black Rhino finally asks Crocodile why hes crying, he learns an interesting fact: Crocodile isn't really crying; hes wetting his eyes in the hot, dry sun like all crocodiles do. And Black Rhino learns something else about crocodiles: they can have you for lunch if you don't watch out!
Including a photo of each animal featured in the story along with a description of its current status on the list of endangered species, this picture book is a great educational tool. A share of the proceeds from sales of the book will go to the Shompole Community Trust, a land and animal reserve in Kenya.
About the Author
Alex Beard is an artist whose work has been shown in New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York, and Hong Kong, among other cities. He is also the author of Abramsand#8217;s Jungle Grapevine, which Publishers Weekly called and#8220;visually compelling.and#8221; He lives with his wife and children in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he has a gallery. Visit him online at www.alexbeardstudio.com.