An elephant is nature’s great masterpiece, wrote poet John Donne. As the largest land animal on the planet, elephants are certainly impressive. They are renowned for their nurturing nature, strong family bonds and excellent memories. Elephants can be very gentle and besides humans, elephants are the only animals to grieve for the dead. World Elephant Day is celebrated annually on 12 August to honour them and create awareness of the critical threats they are facing. The elephant is loved by people and cultures around the world, but they need our help to conserve and protect them. 2021 marks the tenth anniversary of World Elephant Day.

Elephants feature in many children’s picture books that are perfect for sharing at Storytime. With so many to choose from it was difficult to narrow it down to three! 

Image: pixabay

Books

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written by Lisa Mantchev and illustrated by Taeeun Yoo

Strictly No Elephants

In this sweet and engaging picture book, a young boy and his pet elephant are excluded from Pet Club Day. With a gentle flow of words, accompanied by lovely soft illustrations, messages of acceptance, empathy, inclusion, diversity and kindness are effortlessly conveyed. A simple and thoughtful telling of what it means to be a true friend. It is an uplifting and heartwarming debut picture book for author Lisa Mantchev.

As Big as You

This is a wonderful picture book about a small elephant named Finlay, who wants to be big, like his friend Claude. Finlay looks up to Claude who can trumpet loudly, stomp like thunder and charge far and fast. The beautiful watercolour illustrations have an interactive quality and emphasise Claude’s largeness against Finlay’s smallness. This story will appeal to young children and provide reassurance that there is no hurry to grow big.

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written and illustrated by Sara Acton

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written and illustrated by David McKee

Elmer and the Lost Treasure

This is the 28th Elmer picture book starring a brightly coloured patchwork elephant named Elmer. In this new tale, some of Elmer’s friends are searching for famous lost treasure. Only Elmer and his cousin Wilbur have noticed the real treasure. In true Elmer style, it is the bright, vibrant and imaginative illustrations that make these books so appealing. It can be enjoyed on a very simple level, or could be used to think about the things we treasure or to treasure what we already have around us.

Songs

One Elephant Went Out to Play is great for early counting skills and colour recognition. Mr. Fun Elephant includes fun facts about elephants, including that they use their trunks to shower and carry food. 

One Elephant Went Out to Play

Mr. Fun Elephant!

Crafty Idea

Let’s make a cute baby clothespin elephant!

 

You will need:

Instructions:

  • Copy the template onto white card.
  • Colour in using crayons or coloured markers.
  • Cut around the elephant’s body and ear pieces.
  • Cut along the insert line on the elephant’s body and ears.
  • Attach the ears to the body along the insert line.
  • Attach two clothes pegs for the legs.
  • Your baby elephant is ready to play!

Image by Michael Siebert from pixabay.

Did You Know?

Keeping elephants in zoos or safari parks is to be banned in the UK. Campaigners have long warned that the highly intelligent animals suffer from illness, including mental illness and crippling arthritis,  in captivity. The legislation will bring to an end more than seven centuries of elephants kept in captivity in Britain. Champions of elephant welfare believe the focus should be on elephant conservation in areas that have elephants.