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Noa and the Little Elephant

Noa and the Little Elephant

Noa and the Little Elephant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noa and the Little Elephant

Michael Foreman

HarperCollins, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780008413279

Noa loves to watch the elephants play in the water near his small village in East Africa. One day tragedy strikes and the baby is left all alone, his mother killed by poachers.  When Noa and his village adopt the lonely orphan, a beautiful friendship is born. Until one stormy night when Noa may need his friend to save him too…

Who doesn’t love a story about baby elephants?  In this one, in association with Tusk, the African wildlife conservation charity, the plight of elephants is highlighted as, despite the efforts of government rangers and the global ban on trading ivory, their tusks make them prized targets of poachers.  Foreman’s sensitive text and gentle illustrations make this a compelling story to read and share and give hope that there will still be elephants for our little ones to see in the future.

And just for your ooh-aah enjoyment…

 

Ernest the Elephant

Ernest the Elephant

Ernest the Elephant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ernest the Elephant

Anthony Browne

Walker, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99

9781406395099

Ernest the elephant lives with his mum and the rest of the herd and most of the time he is happy to follow them, and eat and drink, then sleep at night.  But when they wander past a jungle, his curiosity gets the better of him and he wanders off.  Soon he is lost and has no idea how to find his mother again. But, when he asks the jungle’s residents – the gorilla, the lion, the hippo and the crocodile – none of them is interested in helping him.

However, a little mouse says he knows the way and even though Ernest is not sure that a little mouse can help a big elephant, it’s better to be lost with someone than lost alone.

There is something about baby elephants that draws us all in and, combined with our imaginations, this charming story comes to life as we picture Ernest wandering off as though he were real.  Maybe you’re even old enough to also “hear” that iconic tune by Henry Mancini. So as well as being an engaging story, it lends itself to all sorts of dramatic activities – moving like Ernest; moving in time to the music; moving like the adult elephants; observing the differences between children and adults moving; being the gorilla, the lion, the hippo, the crocodile and the mouse and imitating their voices and actions – all bringing the story to life in a way that will show children how one print text can open up a world of entertainment. 

 

Elephant Me

Elephant Me

Elephant Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elephant Me

Giles Andreae

Guy Parker-Rees

Orchard Books, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781408356524 

Each year the baby elephants present themselves to Elephant Mighty who demands they perform unique feats that will suggest their new name. And so he watches elephants on stilts, on their heads, standing on one leg, swinging on vines … Nina pulls out a tree by its roots with her trunk so becomes Elephant Strong, while Norcus bellows so loud that even the vultures take flight so he is dubbed Elephant Noisy. 

But when Num Num has no special skills or tricks, Elephant Mighty calls him Elephant Nothing-At-All, humiliating Num Num so much he feels compelled to leave the herd and find another waterhole. But there he makes friends with a lot of other creatures and learns that not only does he have a special talent but he also has the courage to return to confront Elephant Mighty – with surprising results.

Using his signature rhyming style and accompanied by the most glorious illustrations, this is a story that reaffirms for youngsters that who they are is enough, that it is not about what you can do or what you have or what you look like. Particularly pertinent at a time when its target audience is negotiating the wider world of school and navigating social boundaries within that, Num Num shows that you do not have to conform to a particular stereotype to fit in but that it can take a lot of strength and support to be yourself, a message that needs to be reinforced over and over, even with adults as Elephant Mighty learns. 

Elmer: A Classic Collection/ Elmer’s Birthday

Elmer: A Classic Collection

Elmer: A Classic Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elmer: A Classic Collection

David McKee

Andersen Press, 2019

152pp., hbk., RRP $29.99

9781783448678

Thirty years ago I discovered a lovable character that has been an integral part of the lives of the very young students I’ve taught and my grandchildren – a patchwork elephant called Elmer. Every time his creator David McKee offered a new story, it was in my hands and in the ears of the nearest children.  So now, to have a collection of the five earliest stories in one volume is heaven on a stick for such a fan.

Featuring Elmer, Elmer and the Rainbow, Elmer and the Lost Teddy, Elmer in the Snow, and Elmer’s Special Day, just five of the 27 stories in the series, the little patchwork elephant who likes to play jokes on his friends but is always compassionate and helpful, is set to make a whole new generation of fans as parents discover this childhood favourite all over again.

Elmer's Birthday

Elmer’s Birthday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elmer’s Birthday

David McKee

Andersen Press, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $24.99

9781783447947

And to celebrate his 30th birthday, there is a new story called, appropriately, Elmer’s Birthday. Hoping to get their own back on him, the elephants decide to play a joke on Elmer on his birthday and spend the day getting all the other animals on board.  But who has the last laugh? 

Great for teaching children about elephants, the animals of the jungle, colour and patterns, as well as the themes of each story, I believe little ones have not had a real education if they don’t meet Elmer. These two are going straight to my version of the pool room!

 

A Parade of Elephants

A Parade of Elephants

A Parade of Elephants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Parade of Elephants

Kevin Henkes

Greenwillow, 2018

40pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9780062668271

Here they come ….one, two, three, four, five.  A parade of elephants who like to march and march and march.  Round and round they go, up, down, under, over, in and out – they march all day.  Until bedtime when they lift their trunks and trumpet and scatter stars across the sky.

From the butterflies and sun on the front endpage to the moon and stars on the back, this is a charming story that will help little ones learn to count and understand positional words.  They will enjoy being elephants and finding their own places to march though, up, under, in and out and over. Perfect for our youngest readers who will be able to match the words and pictures learning valuable concepts about how print works, this is a charming bedtime story as well as an early maths book! Promote it to your early childhood teachers and parent body who are looking for something delightful but different.

 

Crash! Boom! A Maths Tale

Crash! Boom! A Maths Tale

Crash! Boom! A Maths Tale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crash! Boom! A Maths Tale

Robie H. Harris

Chris Chatterton

Walker, 2018

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

 9781406380514

Elephant is building a tower with his blocks.  He wants it to be as tall as he is and while he just manages it on his first attempt with four blocks stacked on their edges, it’s very wobbly!  CRASH! BOOM! Down it tumbles.  

After throwing an elephant-sized tanty, using all sorts of maths-related words, he has another look and another try.  This time he tries the same blocks, but flat this time… 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8!  And is stands until he crash booms it himself.  And then he looks at the other blocks in his tub…

Far from being a stand-alone subject in the curriculum that brings out the moans and groans, we are surrounded by maths concepts and even our youngest readers will enjoy this story as the illustrations are so evocative, the text is just a bonus!  Exploring 3D shapes; which stack, which don’t; counting the blocks as they are added and thinking about why one tower took 4 and the other 8; using the language of comparison and building towers that are as tall as, taller  than, shorter than other objects; even the dexterity and eye-hand co-ordination involved in the stacking – there is a wealth of activity in this seemingly simple book.  

Perfect for keeping the preschooler occupied for hours without a screen and learning at the same time!

Ella

Ella

Ella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ella

Nicole Godwin

Demelsa Haughton

Tusk Books, 2016

32pp. hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780994531407

Ella is a baby elephant with a broken heart. Taken from her mother at a very early age to become part of the tourist attractions in Thailand, she is shackled by a large chain, poked with a bullhook to be the centre of tourist photos and expected to paint pictures and be the drawcard at weddings.  Always hungry, her only friend is a scrawny chicken but her greatest wish is to see her mother again and be reunited with her.  Wherever she goes she is on the lookout for her and follows every lead that she hopes will be successful, particularly when she sees her future in the eyes of an old and broken elephant saddled with a howdah and expected to enjoy carrying tourists with a need to say they have ridden an elephant.

One night during a fierce storm Ella is sure she has  found her but just as she is about to meet up, she is hit by a car and left on the side of the road.  But all is not lost, for Ella is picked up and hauled into a truck that drives away to a … sanctuary.

Written to give a voice to elephants and all other creatures held captive for the tourism market, this is a touching story that tugs at the heartstrings as the reader is given an insight into what really happens behind the scenes of what seems like an innocuous activity. Despite the charming illustrations that suggest a story for the very young, the front cover gives a clue that this is not a happy, sweetness-and-light story and despite its uplifting ending readers are bound to have questions they want answered.  Some of these are provided on the final pages of the book while  others might need some research.  Along with Elizabeth Stanley’s The Deliverance of Dancing Bears  and Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan  it would make an ideal springboard into the use and treatment of animals as tourist attractions and spark a lot of debate about the ethical issues and changing attitudes towards animals in captivity.

Thought-provoking and worthy of a place on the library’s shelves. 

The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth

The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth

The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth

Hollie Hughes

Leigh Hodgkinson

Bloomsbury, 2016

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781408862780

 

“I’m so famishing, I’m vanishing,” moaned the mahoosive mammoth  when he woke up early in the morning with an empty tummy.  But even though his friend Bug finds and feeds him an enormous amount of food through breakfast, a snack, brunch and lunch, and afternoon tea at the seaside the mahoosive mammoth is still hungry and nothing will satisfy the funny feeling deep inside.

But Bug is clever and realises why his friend is always hungry – and comes up with the perfect solution.  And Mammoth finally fixes that funny feeling inside.

This bright, colourful story-in-rhyme moves along at a fast clip and young readers will be astonished at how much food can be eaten by one creature in one day!  They will delight in the language – watch ‘mahoosive’ become part of their vocabulary – and have fun thinking of new snacks that might fix that funny feeling or imagining the consequences if the mammoth’s tummy does pop!

A fun read that will enchant young readers.

 

Little Why

Little Why

Little Why

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Why

Jonny Lambert

Little Tiger Press, 2016

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781848691834

 

Tucked in the back, in-between the legs of the elder elephants, Little Why is supposed to walk in line and stay out of harm’s way.  But it is a big, new world out there with lots of new things to see.  Things such as Wildebeest’s spiny-spiky special horns.

“Wow!” he gasps.  I need some spiny-spiky special horns like those!.  I would look super-duper scary!  I would charge this way and that.  Could I have some spiny-spiky special horns?”

“No”, he is told and ordered back into line.  But it’s hard to stay in line when you spot a giraffe with long-lofty leggy legs that would be good for reaching the highest leaves, or a cheetah with speedy-spotty, fuzzy fur or a crocodile with a snippy-snazzy snout!  Even a near miss doesn’t stop him but he does stay in line, even though he has the sulks…

This is a charming variation on a common theme of stories for little children – that they are special and perfect just the way they are – but Little Why with his constant asking of “Why?’ is so resonant of a young pre-schooler that is has instant appeal.  And who hasn’t fallen in love with images of baby elephants waddling in and out of their parents’ legs as they take their first steps.  The illustrations are detailed and their collage-like structure gives them texture and depth, with the expressions bringing the animals and text to life. There is also the added detail of two little insects to discover on each page as well as Little Why’s constant companion, a little blue bird who keeps a careful eye on him. Little ones will appreciate the perspective of Little Why looking up at the world, just as they do.

This is another story that, as well as having having that oft-used theme that is essential to a healthy self-esteem and sense of self-worth , has the sort of language, rhythm and repetition that little listeners love and delight in exploring for themselves. 

Where’s the Elephant?

Where's the Elephant?

Where’s the Elephant?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where’s the Elephant?

Barroux

Egmont UK, 2015

32pp., hbk., RRP $A23.95

9781405276481

It starts as a simple hide-and-seek book with the reader encouraged to find the elephant, the parrot and the snake amongst a forest of trees of all shapes and sizes and colours.  Turn the page and the same challenge applies – but this time it’s a little easier because some of the trees have been chopped down.  And on the next double-spread it is easier again as even more trees have disappeared.  And then, where the trees were a house appears and then another and another.  And so it continues until there so many houses and buildings that there is just one tree, and the elephant, the parrot and the snake are clearly visible enclosed in a fence with Zoo on it.  Until they take matters into their own hands…

Stunningly illustrated by this award-winning French illustrator and inspired by a visit to Brazil where he saw the forest set alight to provide space to plant soy beans as well as the concept of Where’s Wally?, in some ways the theme of this wordless text is akin to that of Jeannie Baker’s Window. The encroaching of civilisation and its impact on the environment and the creatures within it is explored in a way that not only the youngest reader will understand but which will serve as a springboard for more mature readers to investigate. 

The colours and shapes of the lush forest evoke positive emotions but as the white of the cleared land and the muted tones of the houses and buildings take over the pages a sense of sadness takes over.  There are no words – they are not needed.

This is the perfect adjunct to a theme of Change, particularly if the focus is on how humans have an impact on the environment and the needs of creatures that dwell there.  Given Australia’s poor record of stopping species becoming endangered or even extinct, this is a focus area that demands attention and where better to start the appreciation of what we have than with the very young?