Elephants are the largest of all land animals, but Jomo is just a little elephant. His brother Mata is four years older and twice as big. And though Jomo has a strong will and a good nose, he can’t hope to match Mata at digging into the dry earth with his feet and tusks to find the underground water.
But who needs to dig a well anyway when there’s a river to drink from? Little Jomo might just as well rest in his brother’s shadow and play a tune on his trunk.
So begins Alyssa Chase’s tale of sibling rivalry, set on the East African savannah – a majestic yet harsh landscape that will allow Jomo few such carefree moments before drought threatens the survival of the young elephant and his family. When the river goes dry and scorched leaves drop from the trees, thirsty and hungry Jomo learns that elephant wells don’t dig themselves and that getting the job done is more important than besting his brother.
In sun-filled watercolor panoramas, illustrator Andra Chase has captured the stark beauties of Jomo’s homeland – the flat-topped thorn tree and gnarled baobab, the graceful candelabra cactus and the crusty mounds of termites. And in beguiling portraits, she has depicted the inhabitants of the African grasslands – the gangly giraffe, the watchful zebra, the golden-eyed lion, and of course the elephants, large and small, so mysterious yet so human.