All the Fish Found Elephant
One day, an elephant appears in the sea, just bobbing along. None of the sea creatures know where it’s come from or even whether it really is an elephant. ‘Elephants don’t exist,’ says one. ‘Yes, they do,’ says another, ‘but they don’t swim. They fly.’ Another one claims that elephant is what you get behind your fins when you don’t scrub properly.
Newcomer Henk van Straten (this is his second children’s book) has written a collection of cheerful, gently subversive animal stories set in this strange watery seascape. The book is full of wry little sentences to put a grin on the reader’s face, such as the lament of the frog who is lost at sea: ‘What a whole heap of bad luck for just one little frog.’ Comments such as this lend a wonderfully light tone and an appealing touch of absurdity to the slightly philosophical chattering of the brooding tuna and the grousing parrotfish.
Martijn van der Linden’s acrylic illustrations, supported by the beautiful design of the book, form a new highpoint in his oeuvre. The powerful colour palette of the cut-out animal pictures, the softly flowing backdrops, the amusing angles, the beady little eyes of the sea creatures – everything perfectly complements Van Straten’s tale of marine life.