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Tweak Tweak

With Lolly under the weather, I will hop in and present this perfect story of maternal love and toddler curiosity. It’s a simple, funny, never-cloying story of one absolutely adorable elephant and her mother.

While out on a walk, joined trunk to tail, Little Elephant asks questions. “If you want to ask me a question, tweak twice.” And Little Elephant has a LOT of questions. Like little people, Little Elephant wonders about the other animals and she “tweak, tweaks” a lot!

Sergio Ruzzier’s ink and watercolor paintings are just about perfect for this rhythmic, repeating story of maternal love and endless youngster questions. The walk is one that this elephant family will probably take hundreds of times and this book will be read just as many times. The landscape has a mildly otherworldly feel—purples and oranges sneak in and alien vegetation dots most scenes —setting the tone for a little elephant to have an intellectual discussion about what it is to be an elephant.

Little is rosy and white and Mama is bluish gray. Full-page spreads are used well, especially when Little Elephant is living in the dream world where she can fly, climb a tree, even swim! There are some comforting circles around Mama and Little, visual clues to the love each has for the other.  Each critter seems to just love, love this little baby—enjoying her questions, marveling at her imagination and sharing in her joy at learning about her world.

The pace of the book is gentle and repetitive and Ruzzier’s illustrations invite the reader to slow down and enjoy this walk. The humorous touches—Little Elephant scratching her back, spraying herself, swishing her ears—are accompanied by repeated hand-lettered sound effects that are sure to delight.

Last year the committee chose a book for very young readers. Will it happen again? It’s hard to believe, but they will be meeting in ten short days to decide.


Robin Smith About Robin Smith

Robin Smith is a second-grade teacher at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a reviewer for Kirkus and The Horn Book Magazine and has served on multiple award committees.



  1. As a mom of a toddler, I loved this book. I’m not sure how noteworthy the illustrations are, but it’s a fun story and really nicely delivered.

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