Illustrations by Eugene Yelchin
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Based on Rumi's classic poem, Elephant in the Dark is a retelling of the Three Blind Men and the Elephant. When the villagers hear of a mysterious creature that has come all the way from India, each sneaks into the dark barn to find out what it could be. Each returns reporting a different animal. A snake, a tree trunk, a fan. Who is right?
Don't you hate when the cover a book ruins the book itself. Of course, I am familiar with this classic tale, but the point is that most young children (for whom this book is geared) are not. They are let in on the secret from the beginning as there is an elephant on the cover. Now, to be entirely fair, the poem itself lets the reader know that it is an elephant from the beginning so the didactic nature of the piece is inherent, but it would have been fun, since this was a picture book, to use an element of surprise.
The story itself is timeless though, a message that I think a lot of people need to be reminded of. That sometimes we cannot see the bigger picture or only have a piece of the truth and so we base our opinions on minimal information. The illustrations are based on a classical Persian art, while giving itself a modern influence. In the end, I have seen better adaptations, but this one is nicely illustrated which is its saving grace.