David McKee - Elmer

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Elmer--A Most Colorful Elephant

Aug 22, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Colorful pictures for pre-schoolers.

Cons:Moral of the story is not exactly clear to little ones.

The Bottom Line: Elmer is a great book to keep pre-schoolers entertained.


Elmer written by David McKee. ISBN # 0-688-09172-5 32 pages.

Recently my daughters and I have been going through our bookshelf. We are reading books again before deciding if they are going into the yard sale or if they are to be kept.

Elmer was given to my oldest daughter as a Christmas present in 1989 by her aunt and uncle in Michigan. (The books tells me this inside the front cover)

This is a book that we have decided to keep. Not only because if was a special gift, but because it's become a classic in children's literature.

Elmer is an elephant, but not just any elephant. He's a patchwork elephant! He's yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue, green , black and white. Whew! All the other elephants love Elmer. He keeps them entertained and laughing.

One day Elmer gets tired of being different. While the other elephants are waking up, Elmer is sneaking off.
As he walks through the jungle all the other animals yell out hello's to him.

After walking for quite awhile, Elmer finds what he's looking for, an elephant colored berry bush. He covers himself and heads back to the other elephants. On the way back, the jungle animals don't recognize him. They just address him as elephant.

Upon arriving back to the elephant herd, no one notices who Elmer is. Elmer had not seen the other elephants so still and serious. Elmer knew just what to do. He lifted up his trunk and wailed out a great big BOO!! The other elephants jumped and Elmer started laughing. The other elephants soon joined him in his laughter, but realized that Elmer was missing all the fun. Just then it begins to rain. As the rain washes off the elephant colored berries from Elmer the others think this is his best joke yet. They decide that from then on that day of the year will be called the day of Elmer's best joke. Each year from then on out all the other elephants painted themselves all colors and Elmer painted himself elephant color.

I see the moral of this story being that it's ok to be different. In fact, if you are different, you are very special. The other elephants wouldn't have known what to do without Elmer around. They most certainly would not have any fun.

My four year old really enjoys this book. What she likes best are the illustrations. The cover of the book is all patchwork with an outline of Elmer and his patchwork. The pictures inside the book are basic but colorful. The pictures cover the page of each page. The pages are colored where the words are, matching the picture on those pages.

I looked to see how much this book is currently selling for at half.com. I didn't find anything by a search of the ISBN number so I searched for the title. I found the title and author under a different ISBN number. It is stated this book was published in 1989 which would match up with when my daughter received it as a gift.
Elmer is listed at a retail price of $14. You can find it listed for sale at half.com ranging from $6.95 to $17.70 plus $2.99 for shipping.

In my opinion I would not pay this price. I do consider this book to be a classic, but would not be willing to pay such a high price to have it on our book shelf. I am very glad this book was given to us as a gift. I would recommend checking your public library and borrowing it from there.

Thanks for reading :)
Marsha Seiberling



Recommend this product? Yes


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