Book Trailer Thursday: Rose & the Bald-Headed Elephant

Picture-book trailers usually adhere to one formula: artwork  /  zooms   x  pans  +  music = trailer. There’s something soulless about this approach; by removing both the effort of reading as well as the interaction of parent and child, we’re left with a simulacrum of an experience, a readaloud as interpreted by a robot.

However! Occasionally elements cohere in such a way to transcend the robotic. The trailer for Wooley Cottswold’s Rose & the Bald-Headed Elephant (Archie Publishing, 2009) only tweaks the above algorithm, but there’s gold in them there tweaks. Instead of panning and zooming, a spotlight widens to allow more and more of the image to be revealed, emulating a reader’s own discovery. The halting rhythms, the morose characters, the generous white space, and the noodling accordion create the feel of an experimental French film. All that’s missing is a weeping mime.

Verdict: Sacre bleu! The text moves too fast for children, which is a tip-off that this isn’t really for them. But for the adults in charge of finding the book, this is more inviting than a bottle of French Bordeaux.



About the Author:

Dan Kraus is Booklist's Editor of Books for Youth. He is also the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielDKraus.

5 Comments on "Book Trailer Thursday: Rose & the Bald-Headed Elephant"

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  1.' Drew says:

    Wow!…all I can say is wow! You’ve hit the nail on the head! The trailer is exquisite…not only is there a unique style with the spotlight exposing segments in the story, but there’s a lovely touch with the words beautifully in sync with the music as they appear. Something you wouldn’t see from a “typical” flash animator – nice touch!

    Oh, and btw, I’ve read the book and it also lives up to the charm and quaintness of the trailer. I loved it.

  2.' Dawn says:

    “there’s gold in them there tweaks” – Spot on!
    The video is lovely.

  3.' Heidi says:

    Some sparks of budding animation genius – I hope pixar is scouting the picture book trailers…

  4.' Scott Heff says:

    The video is amazing. The book is amazing. Great review!

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