Children, like adults, quickly develop sophisticated expectations of genre and style – for example, seeking to see the similarities that define certain types of picturebooks. This picturebook by French artist Barroux plays upon these expectations by using the panoramic, ludic format of picturebooks like Where’s Wally to deliver an environmental message. Children will not be disconcerted by the premise of the visual narrative: a large rainforest fills the page, and the reader must spot the elephant and their friends hidden behind the trees. However, as the pages turn, the rainforest begins to disappear, and so the animals run out of places to hide. The ludic aspect of the title turns into a deeply important message about deforestation. The ending is not unhappy, however – the animals escape the zoo in which they are finally confined once the rainforest has been swallowed up by a grey city. They flee across the sea to find somewhere new to live. This ending provides a solace for children who might find the seriousness of the undertones of the text upsetting, but it equally raises new questions: in real life, is there somewhere new to live? How many rainforests are there to run to? What, in our role as Europeans and Israelis, can we do to help?
The sequel to this book is also in the corpus: Where’s the Starfish?