The first Elmer book about a patchwork elephant and his friends has always been my favourite of the Elmer stories and it is usually my daughter’s first choice from the Elmer stories that we have. However, we have just met Super El, the flying superhero elephant!
The Story: Elmer’s friend, Rose, and her herd of pink elephants is celebrating Old’s one hundredth birthday. Old stands on the edge of a cliff while the elephant herd sings to him. As the herd of elephants stamp and sing, the part of the cliff where Old is standing breaks away which leaves him standing precariously alone on a tiny section. Rose rushes to ask Elmer for help when Super El appears. Super El saves Old from the clifftop and flies him to safety. Rose’s herd is very thankful that Old is safe and Rose is delighted when Super El also offers to take her flying.
Elmer and his cousin, Wilbur, take a back seat in this story. It is lovely to be introduced to some new Elmer characters (my daughter particularly likes the fact that all the elephants are pink!). Super El makes us laugh in his yellow and red superhero costume, my daughter finds the idea of a flying elephant absolutely hilarious and laughs out loud when he is in the air! David McKee’s illustrations are bold, bright and colourful, we especially love the animals in the jungle scene. He has captured a range of emotions on the elephant’s faces throughout the story, e.g shocked, happy, worried, which provide a stimulus for discussion about feelings and facial expressions.
Elmer is a great book to use in the classroom. I have used it for teaching colours and talking about patterns. My daughter likes counting the elephants on each page and we look for the biggest and smallest elephants. I have made big Elmers for classroom displays and small Elmer fridge magnets using craft foam. I have even made Elmer inspired candle holders with toddlers. They had lots of fun tearing up small pieces of tissue paper and sticking it to the outside of a jam jar with wallpaper paste. Then we put a tea light inside and lit it.
The original Elmer story is still my favourite but we also really enjoy reading this one. Do you have a favourite Elmer story?
Age Range: 3 +
Author / Illustrator: David McKee
There is also a German version, Elmer und der rosarote Geburtstag.