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Posted October 21, 2009
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This book is terrible! My MIL picked it up for the kids and of course I was not smart about previewing it before I sat right down to read it to them. The little elephant in the story, Elliot, is a disobedient little brat with selective hearing. Every time his mother tells him to do something, he does not do it. She tells him to dress warmly so he dresses in shorts. She tells him to clean up his toys so they can go to the store, so he totally ignores her and keeps playing. She tells him not to play with the cart, so he piles it high with groceries until it avalanches and gleefully shouts "Earthquake!" She tells him not to play with his soup and not to splash in the tub, both of which end up with liquids purposely sloshed far and wide. The whole book I was holding out hope for a lesson learned in the end to sort of redeem all the bad. Well I was dissappointed in the end when not only was there no consequences for Elliot's day of willful disobedience, but worse, his mother simply took him from yet another disobedient act (jumping on the bed) to sit down and read him a bedtime story, which of course was the only time in the whole book which Elliot listened to his mom. This little elephant teaches kids that if you don't 'hear' what Mom is telling you to do, then it's not disobedience. So you can pretend all the day long that anything you don't want to do, you just didn't hear Mom say it. Then you won't get in trouble because after all, you can't punish someone for not hearing you! Right? What a terrible book! I was very upset after reading it and had to go back and reread it to the kids, ad-libbing in appropriate disciplinary actions for the bratty elephant after every disobedience. Of course that won't work once my kids can read for themselves, so I've opted for a more long term solution. The book is in the trash waiting to be taken out. So if you're in the minority looking for a book with a bad role model, no consequences, but some fun illustrations and pop-ups, then this is the book for you. The rest of us prefer not to waste our money.
Go pick up a copy of The Story of Ferdinand instead.