We’ve just added an elephant to our parade of Ex Libris designs, so obviously we had to start pulling out our favourite elephant-based picture books.
There are a lot out there, but these are Jenny’s favourites:
Have you seen Elephant? – David Barrow
Do you ever feel like there’s an elephant in the room? This is wonderfully simple and beautifully illustrated. Kids will love spotting Elephant and it totally captures how bad kids are at looking for things (mine at least), and reinforces the small-person belief that you can hide in plain sight if you put a towel on your head.
The Story of Babar - Jean De Brunhoff
This book is wrong on so many levels in its old-fashioned outlook but is still utterly enchanting. I have a very old hardback copy - I loved it as a child and my kids seem equally taken with it.
Get Out of My Bath– Britta Teckentrup
When other creatures keep getting in Ellie’s bath, she asks the reader for help getting them out. The shouting and book-waggling that ensues makes this a raucous bedtime read, but it’s loved by all the kids I’ve read it to.
Five Minutes Peace – Jill Murphy
Elephants and baths just go together and feature in this classic too. We follow Mrs Large as she desperately tries to get some time away from her kids. It will ring big bells with any parent. The expressions are so brilliantly drawn I’m sure even the smallest child will recognise that look of despair on Mrs Large’s face which is probably why they find it so funny too. The rest of the Large Family series is worth a read too – brilliantly observed comedy about family life.
Tusk Tusk – David McKee
You might expect David McKee’s most famous elephant, Elmer, to be on this list. He isn’t for the simple reason that despite wonderful artwork, I don’t think the Elmer books are very good. David McKee however, is a masterful picture book maker, and in Tusk Tusk he confronts the difficult subject of otherness and tolerance via conflicting black and white elephants. It’s silly, but so is prejudice. And this is a very serious book with wonderful artwork.