Reviews for Hiding Phil

Booklist Reviews 2013 December #1
When the Pachyderm Bus Line drops off Phil the elephant, he soon meets three children who invite him to play. They have a great time jumping rope, sliding down his trunk, playing in the park, and giving him a bubble bath. But panic grips the children when they realize how their parents will react to a pet elephant. All attempts to hide Phil fail, and their parents insist they return him to the bus stop. A tearful goodbye is followed by a surprise happy ending. Simple but expressive cartoon illustrations complement the spare text. Infused with visual humor, the book makes good use of space and pacing, with a mix of small panels, traditional layouts and bleed-to-edge two-page spreads. The fun premise and the range of emotions conveyed through a carefully drawn eyebrow will appeal to children from young preschool through kindergarten. The limited text also lends itself to use as a beginning reader. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
Three siblings find an elephant named Phil. They have a blast playing with him and decide to hide Phil from their parents. Hiding an elephant, though, isn't that easy: the grownups find him, decide he has to go, then ("whisper whisper whisper") take it back--a change of heart that's pleasing but undeveloped. Barclay's expressive, playful illustrations outshine his simple speech-balloon text.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 August #2
It's awfully hard to hide an elephant. Three kids find an elephant waiting at the bus stop (the Pachyderm Bus Line, of course). According to the luggage tag, his name is Phil. They take the squat, dumpy blue elephant, complete with tiny fedora, to the park and have a grand time jumping rope and sliding down his trunk. But suddenly, with wide-eyed terror, they realize something. Their parents will likely be less than thrilled about this new friend. "We must hide Phil!" they all shout at the top of their lungs. He's too big for the doghouse, but piling leaves on top of him almost works until one of those leaves tickles his trunk. After one last solution that seems perfect, their parents enter and immediately ask, "Um. Is that an elephant?" (Gosh-darn parents--they always figure things out.) They order Phil to leave. But Phil just may have some hiding spots of his own. Spare text in scattered speech bubbles makes this a good choice for beginning readers. The illustrations are reminiscent of Harry Bliss', and details charm; Dad wears a hat almost identical to Phil's (as well as a goatee), and the kids' dachshund joins in the fun. The ending is a bit slapdash, but the wide range of expressions found on Phil's flattened face more than make up for it. A slim story full of determination, problem-solving and pachyderm glee. (Picture book. 3-5) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 August #1

How to camouflage an elephant so your parents won't see him? That's the dilemma three eager siblings face after they discover a blobby blue elephant named Phil sitting at the bus stop. Barclay's (I Can See Just Fine) story unfolds through minimal speech-balloon dialogue, giving his cartooning a key storytelling role. After the kids happily jump rope and teeter-totter with Phil and give him an outdoor bubble bath in a kiddie pool, the sister announces to her brothers, "Mom and Dad will love Phil!" All of the characters (even a rubber ducky) make goggle eyes on the next spread as the girl quickly follows up that statement with an "Uh-oh." Their predictably futile efforts to hide Phil make for lots of physical comedy ("Um. Is that an elephant?" asks the kids' mother as soon as she sees Phil disguised as a clubhouse). Humor also derives from the kids' earnestness and the way Barclay telegraphs their emotions as they delight in Phil's company, bid him a teary adieu, and joyfully welcome him back when their parents relent. Ages 3-5. Agent: Kirsten Hall, the Bright Agency. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 September

PreS-K--A turquoise elephant rides into town on a Pachyderm Bus and is sitting on a bench when three siblings and their pup spot him and take him home with them. Phil turns out to be a patient, fun playmate. Worried about their parents' reaction to their new pal, the children try to hide him in a pile of leaves, but he is allergic ("AAAACHOO!"). They drape him in a sheet with the word "clubhouse" on it, but his feet and trunk stick out, and Mom and Dad aren't fooled. Phil has to go. The entire family takes him back to the bus stop, where the parents suddenly have a change of heart about saying good-bye to Phil. No explanation is given for why they change their minds. Large, cheerful illustrations with spare text in dialogue balloons make this a fun read. It is Phil's playful personality that makes the book so charming.--Janene Corbin, Rosebank Elementary School, Nashville, TN

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