Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Everyone!
I come from a family of elephant-lovers.
My grandmother had all the Babar books in French, printed in spidery script. Between the French and the illegible script, none of us (me, my siblings, my cousins) could read them, which suited her just fine because that meant she got to read them to us 🙂
Does anyone besides me remember Babar? I had the books (in regular print in English!), but I also had a record (Eek! my age is showing! 🙂 ) with 6 of the Babar stories on it. They were accompanied by songs which you’ll be alarmed to know I can remember to this day. I can’t remember my debit card pin number or where I hid the spare keys to the house, but I can sing you the song about Arthur pushing Pom, Flora and Alexander in the pram! (“Twenty steps forward… twenty steps back. Wheeling the carriage… I’ve got the knack…”) Or the song about what all the little elephants hoped Father Christmas would bring them! (“Alexander wants a butterfly net and Flora wants a doll. Arthur says a choo-choo train would please him most of all…”) My head is crammed full of useless knowledge. Sad but true! 🙂
Elephants (pronounced ed-o-wenta at our house because of a long-standing mispronunciation when our kids were little 🙂 ) are just as popular with our kids as they were with my siblings and my grandmother. Maybe it’s because they’re so big and prehistoric-looking yet move with such lumbering grace. Maybe it’s because of their fascinating matriarchal society. Maybe it’s because it’s so intriguing to watch them actively problem-solve as a group. Or maybe it’s just because baby elephants are so cute 🙂
No matter what it is that makes elephants so appealing, I hope you’ll like this book as much as I do 🙂
Written & Illustrated By: Mike Wu
Disney-Hyperion, May 2015, Fiction
Suitable For Ages: 3-5
Themes/Topics: art, helping others, finding your own talents, animals (elephants)
Opening: “On a bright winter day, when Ellie was just finishing her lunch, the zookeeper came by with an announcement.
“Gather ’round!” Walt called. “I have some news.
“It is a sad day,” he said. “The zoo is closing.””
Brief Synopsis: The animals are heartbroken when they find out their zoo is closing. They wonder if there’s any way they can help prevent it. Perhaps they can spruce the place up? Lucy the giraffe prunes the trees. Gerard the gorilla tidies the path. But Ellie the baby elephant isn’t tall enough to prune trees or strong enough to move rocks. Is there anything she can do to save her beloved home?
Links To Resources: YouTube video of real elephants who paint; fun facts about elephants; elephants work together to problem solve (videos) – help baby cross road, save baby stuck in the mud; preschool elephant activities and crafts
Why I Like This Book: This is a sweet story about friendly animals pitching in to try to save their home. Ellie wants so much to help, but at first she doesn’t think she has any skills that will serve. Quite by accident, she discovers a talent that will not only help, but be the driving force behind saving the zoo, and the story comes to a satisfying ending. The art is gorgeous and so appealing, starting off in soft greens and grays and becoming brighter and bolder as Ellie’s talent develops and her self-confidence grows. And Ellie is such an endearing character she’s hard to resist 🙂 The story is loosely based on a relatively recent headline about elephants who paint, so has some grounding in fact 🙂
For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.
Oh, one thing before we go! I wanted to thank everyone who joined in the #aprilfoolphyllis contest last Friday to help spread the word of April Fool, Phyllis!‘s Kindle debut! You are all so helpful and wonderful, and I really appreciate your help! Phyllis does too, and she sends you all a virtual strawberry pie 🙂 The winner of the $25 Amazon gift certificate was Chelanne Green, and the 5 winners of a Kindle copy of April Fool, Phyllis! were Vivian Kirkfield, Genevieve Petrillo, Tina Cho, Tracy Potash, and Rebecca Forester. Thank you, thank you to everyone for joining in so whole-heartedly!
PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see your delightful picks for this week!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!!!