Zola's Elephant


A girl named Zola has just moved in next door.

New neighbors can make good friends, but what if Zola already has a best friend? And what if that best friend is something as grand and magical as…an elephant?

Surely then there would be little room in Zola’s life for an ordinary new friend, right?

An Amazon Best Children’s Book of 2018

A School Library Journal Best Picture Book of 2018

De Sève’s well-paced telling is charmingly abetted by Zagarenski’s layered multimedia paintings. The artist’s Klee-esque colors and signature symbols—stars, crowns, houses, bees and more—will provide fertile ground for young readers’ own imaginings.
— *Starred Review, Kirkus
Whimsical and surreal details, both real and make-believe, celebrate the joy of pretending with a new friend.
— *Starred Review, Booklist
Intricate and beautiful, Zola’s Elephant displays a perfect balance of text and illustration while asking all readers to remember that what we think isn’t necessarily what is true.
— Shelf Awareness
The text’s dive into social paralysis gives this depth beyond the usual new-friends story, and the gentle humor of the girl’s hyperbolic fantasy offers some reassuring distance. Zagarenski’s mixed-media art takes the whimsical notion and runs with it, with the narrator imagining a mistily dreamy wonderland sprinkled with stars and populated not just by a charismatic elephant but by other personable critters as well.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's books