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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Isaac the Elephant: Grandma's Angels is a children’s social issues picture book written by Cheryl Sperry Golke and illustrated by Nifty Illustration. If a parade was in town, you could be sure that Isaac the elephant was as far away from all the noise and the chaos as he could possibly be. The loud trumpets and blaring trombones, the roaring sounds of fire engines and tractors, and the shrieks of cheerleaders made him nervous and unhappy. On parade days or just about any day, Isaac could usually be found somewhere peaceful and quiet, sitting by a gently flowing stream or in the library, reading a good book. He really did prefer doing things like that. Isaac wished his ears weren’t so big; they seemed to magnify every sound and make it even harder to bear. One day, while he was sitting by a river and having a grand time reading his book, he heard a tiny voice. It was so small that it was almost impossible to hear. Isaac searched and searched until he finally found the source of the sound. Someone needed to be rescued and Isaac was uniquely prepared to do just that.
Isaac the Elephant begins with a letter from the author discussing autism and how people with autism may sometimes act differently than other people do. Isaac’s story follows on beautifully from that introductory letter. Readers can’t help but feel for Isaac as his ears are assaulted by the loud sounds and commotion of the parade, even if they love parades themselves. Golke’s story shows them how to put themselves in Isaac’s shoes, or ears, so to speak. They can sense how much happier he is when he chooses his book and finds the perfect place to relax and enjoy some alone time. Nifty Illustration’s artwork captures Isaac’s moods and expressions perfectly. Each panel is brightly colored and expressive. You can see Isaac’s tension mounting as the fire truck approaches, and see the delight on his face as he sits by the river and reads. This is an ideal selection for story time and reading it sets the stage quite well for kids to discuss how parades and chaotic events like parties and such affect them and the people they know. Isaac’s story is also written with the new reader in mind, making it a suitable primer for beginners to try on their own. Isaac the Elephant: Grandma's Angels is most highly recommended.