Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Too many elephants in this house by Ursula Dubosarsky illustrated by Andrew Joyner
One of the things I especially love in a picture book is when the illustrator or book designers decide to use different end papers - one image at the beginning of the book and a different one at the end. In Too Many elephants in this House Andrew Joyner has squished at least fifteen plump and happy elephants onto the first end paper. One is holding a small bunch of flowers. It is a tiny splash of colour in the midst of mass of grey bodies. Flipping to the final end paper we see the same squash of elephants but this time a small boy is happily wedged over an elephant bottom and all the elephant eyes are looking at him.
This is a story about problem solving. There are too many elephants and the aptly named Eric needs to find a solution. The zoo already has a full quota of elephants, transport to Africa is out of the question and if he just lets them out into the street that is bound to cause mayhem.
You can see many of the exuberant illustrations from this book on the illustrators web site. I have not met Andrew Joyner but he must be a very happy man - his picture books beam with smiles. We all enjoyed The Terrible Plop when it was short listed a few years ago and it was fun to show Andrew's little video about how to draw a bear to our students.
After reading this book to my students we will also look at The boy who was followed home by Margaret Mahy. It has a similar theme of creatures that take over the house. We will also look at The Great Escape from city zoo by Tohby Riddle. The twenty elephant restaurant by Russell Hoban and Where do you hide two elephants? by Emily Rodda. I used to have an old book called But No elephants. I found a video copy which we can use instead. We will also explore a mini theme about boxes. You can see a terrific pinterest collection of box books here made by my friend at Kinderbookswitheverything. I do not think this book will win the CBCA awards but I am sure it will be a winner with my youngest students. Look for this book in your library today - it is sure to make you smile too.