Gunther the Underwater Elephant

Ginger Neilson
4RV Publishing (2011)
ISBN 9780983274025

Reviewed by Madison Schlarman (age 5) and Mom for Reader Views (12/11)

Gunther the elephant loves to swim, but he is not quite old enough to swim on his own.  If Gunther wants to swim he needs an older sibling, cousin, or other family member to hold his trunk and tail.  One day, while swimming Gunther is let go and carried out to sea.  The trip is amazing and Gunther is able to see many new and exciting things.  However, Gunther soon misses his family and wants to get back home.  With the help of a few friends, Gunther’s adventure turns into a rescue mission and then a trip home.

Madison’s thoughts:

Gunther’s sister and brother let go of him because they were arguing.  You can see them in the background.  He floated away to the sea.  Gunther met a whale who helped him get home.  The divers and hunters took his mom!  They saved her by dressing up as sea monsters!  They scared the men who yelled “SEA MONSTERS” and rowed away.  Gunther’s mom was saved.

I like it medium.  My favorite part is mostly all of it.  It just wasn’t the best book, but it wasn’t bad.  It’s too long.

Mom’s thoughts:

I really can’t say it better than Madison.  This book is average.  While very creative and beautifully illustrated the story didn’t hold our attention.  It felt too long.  I didn’t really understand why his mom had to be captured.  It seemed like the adventure of getting back home was enough and the story could have ended.  At the same time, the sea monsters seemed to be Madison’s favorite part.  

I had a hard time writing a synopsis for this one because it didn’t keep my attention well.  Likewise, Madison struggled to sit down and tell me about the book.  She loved pointing out the pictures and enjoyed parts of the story but got distracted easily.  “Gunther the Underwater Elephant” is cute and unique and totally worth reading, but I’m glad I didn’t buy it in the store.  This book is more of a library read for our family, though I don’t think that will be true for everyone.


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