Tuesday, February 14, 2017
By Adam Rex
Roaring Brook Press, 2017. Picture book.
A clumsy ox falls in love with a vain gazelle and the two begin writing letters to each other. The ox’s letters are full of tender compliments (“Even when you are running from tigers you are like a ballerina who is running from tigers.”), while the gazelle’s are full of arrogance and insults. Will the gazelle ever learn to be worthy of her stalwart admirer’s love?
The text of this book is made up entirely of brief letters between the ox and gazelle, but through these, we learn interesting insights into each one’s character. The illustrations offer a nice contrast between the Ox’s simple surroundings and homey comforts and the gazelle’s luxurious but cold mansion. Also, the difference between the front endpapers and the rear endpapers are a nice addition to the story.
Though the text is brief, it manages to bring up so many deep ideas, such as humility, forgiveness, persistence, loving someone despite their faults, and the nature of true love and true happiness. This book is original, thought-provoking, a little sad, a little sweet, and very witty.