Arnold, the seafaring elephant of this book’s title, meets disaster with apparent equanimity and an endearing ingenuity in a warm and enjoyable adventure. Arnold’s tendency to rush in gets him into scrapes with the series of characters who could potentially rescue him from shipwreck but in the process of trying to solve those problems he actually makes Elephant Island ‘too much fun to leave.’ In the end, the book reminds us that life’s difficulties can also result in the things most precious to us.
Although the elephant acts in earnest throughout the book, the text and illustration of Elephant Island work together to create a great sense of fun and gentle humour. Timmers’s illustrations are beautiful, vivid and full of feeling. He creates a large cast of animal characters to keep Arnold company and the sea itself becomes a character too. The text is charming and easy to read and works with the illustration to enrich the story.
Timmers’s colourful animal characters will keep the youngest readers enthralled while Arnold antics will appeal to the slightly older ones and make adults glad that Gecko Press recognised the value in translating this work of Belgian Timmers.