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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Loco, Toco, and Poco are all elephant friends. They look different, but they’re all about the same age. While playing in London’s Hyde Park, Poco suddenly remembers that today is his third birthday. When asked what he wants, he declares he wants the biggest chocolate cake ever. One big enough for an elephant. The three friends go on an adventure, visiting several local bakeries. The first one only sells cupcakes and they’re all sold out of chocolate. The second one has chocolate cakes, but nothing big enough for an elephant. The elephants are sad when they return to Hyde Park. They meet a little boy, Neil, who notices their sad faces. When asked, the elephants explain their desire to find a huge chocolate cake. Neil has a bright idea, one that will creatively solve their problem.
Balachander Vijayakumar and Janani Balachander’s picture book, The Elephants and the Chocolate Cake, is a creative adventure for young readers. Accompanied by charming illustrations, young readers will quickly fall in love with the three elephants. There is a definite plot that is well developed: the desire to find a huge chocolate cake and the journey the elephants make searching for it. The climax evolves from their meeting with the young boy, Neil, who helps them creatively come up with a resolution to the problem. There is a powerful lesson in this simple but fun, story: one can and should think creatively to solve problems and that friends can come together to resolve a problem. The language is easy-to-read so a beginner reader can try reading alone. The illustrations help carry the story. And, at the end of the book, there is a page where the young reader can draw their own “dream” cake and color the elephant friends. A real treasure of a book.