Sometimes we react before we think, which is the main message behind a new children’s book from Disney Hyperion. Poe Won’t Go by Kelly DiPucchio is a picture book illustrated by Zachariah Ohora about an event that happens in the middle of a town that causes everyone to just react without thinking or asking questions. The story and illustrations may be simplistic, but the message is very important.
Poe is an elephant in plaid trousers and a fedora who sits in the middle of a busy intersection and blocks traffic. The townspeople begin yelling at him to go away and the mayor even recruits professionals to try and remove the elephant, but with no luck. It takes a young girl name Marigold who speaks elephant to sit down and talk with the gentle giant to get a better understanding of why he’s there and why he won’t move.
There’s a lot of humor in the book, particularly as the specialists become sillier and more extreme. These include a motivational speaker, a magician, tying balloons to the elephant, and a rollerskating peanut. But the main purpose of the story is not comedy but to encourage kids and parents to listen to others when they don’t understand them.
As an adult, it’s hard not to pick up on the subtext of the book and read it as a parallel to the immigration issues happening in our country. Poe is an unwanted visitor and the townspeople immediately tell him to go away and that he doesn’t belong there. The young girl who knows better and talks to the elephant wears a hijab and must have at one time or another felt like Poe. It’s a beautiful message about human kindness and understanding and one that may catch readers by surprise.
Poe Won’t Go can help teach kids and parents to be more understanding and compassionate towards their follow travelers on spaceship earth. You’ll share a few laughs along the way, but the main message is that we need to listen to and respect one another if we’re going to coexist.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.