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Reviewed by Katelyn Hensel for Readers' Favorite
A combination of a Cinderella story and a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer story, Great Gray by Beverly Davis is a very cute tale about a funny looking elephant and how his odd looks aren't so odd after all. When Gray is born, he doesn't quite look like he should. He's got one ear on the top of his head! His Dad is ashamed, and worries that the King won't want to ride on Gray so he banishes him to the forest to push trees and rocks instead of carrying royalty. But Santosh, Gray's handler, isn't going to let Gray's ear stop them. He trains Gray how to use the semaphore system and Gray's intelligence ends up being put to good use.
This was a unique and different kid's story. I felt like I learned a whole lot, and I'm an adult. From the semaphore system to the different Indian names used throughout the book and what they meant, this story was fun and smart at the same time. I really enjoyed the depictions of Gray and his handler Santosh, done by Linda Cowen. While I am not very used to black and white books, and am not sure how well kids will pay attention in a world full of electronics and bright colors, the illustrations were done with skill and creativity. Several of them could be bigger, though, because I had to squint quite a lot on some pages. Overall, Great Gray was a 'great' book. Beverly Davis succeeds on all levels.