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Elmer's Special Day

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this latest story to feature Elmer “the patchwork elephant,” McKee subtly instructs readers on the making and keeping of friends. Deep in the jungle, the elephants are preparing for Elmer's Day, painting their hides in kaleidoscopic patterns (Elmer, in contrast, rolls around in brownish-gray “elephant-colored” berries “until he looked just like an ordinary elephant”). Although Elmer's Day sounds self-indulgent, the herd is enthusiastic—so enthusiastic that a lion, tiger, giraffe and other animals request peace and quiet. The jubilant elephants promise to hush, but like excited children, they can't help getting louder. Elmer solves the problem very simply: he invites all the animals to participate. Soon, “the other animals were just as messy and noisy as the elephants,” and they even wear elephant masks to participate in the elephant parade. McKee illustrates in a loose, folk-art style. Elmer visually clashes with the foliage and his friends, and the whole enterprise exudes cheery, unassuming goodwill. The elephants' nonexclusive event provides a model for any peaceable kingdom. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Elmer the patchwork elephant returns! Preparations are underway as the elephants get ready for a special event, Elmer's Day. On Elmer's Day, the elephants paint themselves with different colors and designs while, at the same time, Elmer colors his patchwork to look like a regular elephant. Once they are all painted, they have a parade. As they get the paints ready, the excited elephants cause a disruption and bother the other animals. They, in turn, complain to Elmer. Elmer tries to get his friends to be quieter, but the noise level quickly grows again. Elmer comes up with a plan, and he invites the other animals to join them by decorating themselves. Soon all the elephants and the other animals are noisily decorating themselves for the parade. When it is time for the parade, the elephants await the arrival of the other animals. Elmer and the elephants are greeted with a fun surprise. Colorful illustrations fill the pages and inspire artwork projects on different design patterns. Those children who have enjoyed earlier stories about Elmer will probably enjoy this story, too. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Elmer the patchwork elephant is back. Once a year the gray elephants decorate themselves and have a parade, and this story takes place on that day. The other animals are complaining about all of the noise made by the excited elephants as they prepare for the big event. Elmer recognizes the feelings for what they really are, jealousy, and he invites them to join in the celebration. McKee does a great job of creating the jungle environment and the festivities in vibrant, exciting colors. The textures and the patchwork-quilt look of the jungle will invite readers to take a closer look. The impact of the creatures coming together as a community to celebrate is a satisfying conclusion—everyone is having a great time and no one feels left out. A strong addition to the popular series.—Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761351542
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Series: Andersen Press Picture Bks
  • Pages: 28
  • Sales rank: 293,618
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    learning how to share

    When the elephants have a special day, should the other animals be included or excluded? Elmer is a colorful patchwork elephant, first introduced by author and illustrator David McKee in 1989. Because Elmer is such a special elephant, all the other elephants celebrate Elmer's Day, when they decorate themselves and go on parade. However, as they prepare for the special day, they are excited and noisy. All the other animals, like the lion, the tiger, the monkeys, and even the rabbits, complain about the racket to Elmer. He asks the elephants to be quiet, and they agree, but it isn't long before they're noisier than ever. However, Elmer has an idea. What is his idea? And will it work? Not only is this a fun and visually attractive book for youngsters to read, but it also contains the subtle message for kids that it is better to invite others to play with you rather than trying to keep them shut out. David McKee published his first children's book in 1964, and since then has been one of the leading contemporary children's book creators. Andersen Press is one of the most award-winning children's book publishers in the United Kingdom, and they are happy to announce that selected titles from Andersen Press are now distributed by the Minneapolis-based Lerner Publishing Group and available to an American audience under the Andersen Press USA imprint. I believe that kids will really enjoy Elmer's Special Day.

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