File this one under: dear God children respond to this book, and I am not sure why.
But I know that they do, and if you're hanging around with someone who is, say, 2, or 1, or, you know, a baby, and you're looking for some common ground, maybe a conversation starter, go out a purchase a copy of this book, read it with them, and enjoy.
My father-in-law bought this for my girls when they were very small, and I remember having a bit of…skepticism. At that time, I had a pronounced disdain for books that used photographs for artwork, and I thought the whole thing was a bit simple. Weak. Unexciting.
Readers: I was wrong.
It's funny how difficult it is to hold off from imposing our own ideas of what makes a good story. This story is not complex: a baby elephant is with its mother. It goes slowly into the water. It splashes around. It tries to get out. It falls over! It gets up. Then, tension! For a moment it cannot find its mother! But then (spoiler alert!) there is its mother! Waiting in the shade (and being an awesomely gigantic elephant). That's it. Not much there to warrant numerous rereadings, you would think. But you would be wrong. Because we read it and read it and read it. And it never drove me crazy, like some of the many-requested books do. It was just…sweet. Which turns out to be enough.