Poe Won't Go by Kelly Di Pucchio, illustrated by Zachariah Ohora

Poe Won't Go, written by Kelly Di Pucchio,
illustrations by Zachariah Ohora
Review Copy from Disney Books
Poe Won't Go beings, "One morning, the good people of Prickly Valley awoke to find an elephant sitting smack-dab in the middle of the only road in town." How and why the elephant is there is a mystery, but they do learn that his name is Poe. And Poe won't go, creating a huge traffic jam and lots of angry townsfolk. Shouting, begging and tickling cannot get Poe to move. Mice, magnets, motivational speakers, as well as other alliterative attempts, also fail. The mayor, a white-haired, white woman in pearls and a suit, forms a committee that drinks coffee out of styrofoam cups but fails to solve the problem.
When a little girl in a hijab named Marigold arrives, wondering if anyone has asked Poe why he won't go, there is much scoffing. But, Marigold informs them she is "fluent in both kitten and hedgehog," and anyone can speak elephant if they just listen hard enough. Listening proves powerful and the problem of the unmovable elephant is solved in a surprising and silly way.
Ohora's illustrations, always marvelous, are the highlight of Poe Won't Go. From the color palette to the characters, every page is a delight (yes, the motivational speaker does look a bit like Tony Robbins). Ohora bring a retro feel to his illustrations, with chunky black lines and cheerful humor. My favorite illustration in the whole book  comes on the title page when we see Marigold and her father, at work in his flower shop which bears her name. It is so amazing to see a brown skinned, main character in a hijab in a picture book that has nothing to do with diversity. She just is. And hopefully, moving forward, more characters like Marigold will just be.

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