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The Masterwork of a Painting Elephant

Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Ed Young

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Ever since he was an infant, Pigeon Jones has lived on the back of an artistically gifted white elephant named Birch. Birch is a loving father, but that doesn’t stop Pigeon from wondering about the human parents who abandoned him. Birch has dreams, too—of being a well-known artist, and of finding the acrobat he fell in love with while they performed together in a circus years ago.

And so, on Pigeon’s tenth birthday, their search for fame and lost loves begins. Pigeon and Birch paint their way across the world, dodging an evil circus ringleader, freeing zoo animals, and befriending singing hoboes along the way. But when they reach the end of their journey, Birch must master the most difficult art of all: letting go and allowing his beloved Pigeon to stand on his own two feet.


BOOK EXCERPTS

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ONE
But He Has Such Big Ears
 

My name is Pigeon Jones, and I was raised by a painting Indian elephant. This is how my adventure started: one day when I was an infant in my crib, a pigeon flew into our house through the window. This is not, as you may be thinking, why I am named Pigeon. The bird did, however, cause my mama to become quite upset.
“Get that filthy bird out of here,” she shouted. “Don’t let it touch the baby.”
My papa didn’t see the bird at first, but he stayed calm, sat still, and whispered under his breath, “Just
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REVIEWS

Praise for The Masterwork of a Painting Elephant

"A preposterous premise is the underpinning for this delightful, touching fable..."--School Library Journal
 
“This is a contemplative but entertaining tale perfect to share at bedtime or on a rainy afternoon.” --BCCB
 
“This wonderfully crafted story illustrates the difficult decision Birch must make, namely to allow his beloved Pigeon to leave and stand on his own.” --TucsonCitizen.com
 
"The unlikely combination of zany story arc, resonant illustrations, and graceful telling come together in a memorable and original offering.” --Booklist
 
"A touching, singular story of a painting elephant and the boy he lovingly fosters." --Kirkus Reviews
 
"This book is a wonderful bedtime read-aloud for parents and children to share; it is magical and true, strange and comforting, all at once."- Emily Jenkins, author of Invisible Inkling
 
“Part origin myth, part Little Prince, and part circus act, this book pulls you into its own dreamlike world, replete with hilarity, strange beauty, and a sense of life wisely observed.  Ed Young's expressive brush drawings match the writer's light touch and add a pleasure of their own.” —Paul O. Zelinsky, author/illustrator of the Caldecott Medal-winner Rapunzel

In the Press

THE MASTERWORK OF A PAINTING ELEPHANT by Michelle Cuevas, Ed YoungKirkus Book Reviews
Read the Kirkus Review of THE MASTERWORK OF A PAINTING ELEPHANT . A little boy and a nurturing elephant embark on a memorable search and find adventure, fame and the meaning of home.
- Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Ed Young

  • Michelle Cuevas graduated from Williams College and holds a master of fine arts in creative writing from the University of Virginia, where she received the Henry Hoyns Fellowship. She lives in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.

    Ed Young is the Caldecott Award-winning illustrator and writer of many children's books. He lives in Westchester County, New York, with his two daughters.

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Masterwork of a Painting Elephant

Michelle Cuevas, illustrated by Ed Young

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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