Once Upon an Elephant
written by Linda Stanek
illustrated by Shennen Bersani
Once Upon an Elephant is a story about the important role elephants play in the lives of countless other species. How their day to day activities protect and encourage growth on the savanna, which also helps other animals. The information is delivered in age appropriate language with 2-4 sentences per page. The story itself reveals several specific elephant 'activities' that benefits others and how many would suffer without the elephants. For example,
how the heaviness of the elephant causes their footprints to be deep enough to hold water. At times, during the dry season, these small pools are the only source of water for many animals...even younger children understand that without the elephants many animals would not survive.
I'm so excited about the children's books available from Adorable Publishing. These books encourage parents, teachers, older brothers/sisters, grandparents, etc. to get involved. Interactive quizzes, cross-curricular activities and more are available at Adorable Publishing's website. Elephants are called a keystone species, because they play a very important role in the lives of other animals, therefore affecting the entire ecosystem of the savanna. The number of elephants in the wild has dwindled to an embarrassingly low number in the last twenty years. If we and by we I mean all of us, do nothing, within a short period of time, these majestic animals will be a memory. Stories about them will have no choice but begin with.. "Once upon a time there was an elephant."
There's a lot of information contained in the last two pages. Maps, pictures, small info boxes.
- One example of an "all about elephants" info box:
- Female: cow
- Male: bull
- Baby: calf
- Group Name: herd
I read Once Upon an Elephant to my 4.5 year old, animal loving, book lover, granddaughter. She was excited as soon as she looked at the cover. She listened patiently, looking at every detail in each picture...until the third set of repetitions... "once upon an elephant," followed by, "but the elephants were there." Granted we've been reading to her, since way before she was able to even know that's what we were doing - which may mean she's more picky or opinionated than the typical 4.5 year old. But she liked it better when I skipped those words. Curious, I shared the book with my neighbor. She has two granddaughters age 7 and 9, and two grandsons age 3 and 6. The nine year old was immediately put off by the repetition, as was the 6 year old grandson. The 7 year old said it was ok, but she liked it better when Grandma took those words out. The 3 year old was doing his own thing. The older kids enjoyed the website and all the extra information on those last two pages. I heard "elephants are pretty cool" .... and WOW, isn't that the response we are seeking?
If you have a child age 4-7, this is a fun, beautifully illustrated picture book - that inspires and encourages kids to learn more. Plus Adorable Publishing has activities suitable for classroom or at home available on their website. I look forward to many more wonderful titles from this author and this publisher! Enjoy!