Author: David McKee
Age Range: 3-6 (board book)
Harper Collins has issued a new 25th anniversary board book edition of David McKee's Elmer. This is a slightly over-sized board book, with a bright patchwork cover, and my four-year-old (meeting Elmer for the first time) was unable to resist it.
For those who have not made his acquaintance, Elmer is the story of a patchwork elephant who stands out from among the other elephants in his herd. Elmer stands out not just because of how he looks, but because of his happy-go-lucky nature. He makes the others laugh. However, fearing that the other elephants are laughing at him, rather than with him, Elmer decides to disguise himself. But not to worry - Elmer's true nature, and eventually his true colors, shine through in the end.
There's a subtle message here about being yourself, of course. But I think that i has been around for 25 years because David McKee doesn't hit kids over the head with this message. Instead, he celebrates the delightful absurdity of a patchwork elephant, and the joy that all of the elephants have in witnessing a good joke. Elmer is also wonderfully bright and appealing for the youngest readers. At the end of the book, the elephants elephants decide to color themselves one day a year, in celebration of Elmer. The final spread is a riot of color and patterns. I challenge anyone to see it and not smile.
This new board book edition of Elmer would make pretty much a perfect holoiday gift for a toddler in your life, especially if accompanied by a stuffed Elmer. There's a reason that classics like this are still around. Elmer is a fun, bouncy sort of book, one with heart.
Publisher: HarperFestival (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: August 26, 2014 (this board book reprint edition)
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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