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June 1, 2016

Make Every Day Elephant Appreciation Day!

Since Elephant Appreciation Day in mid-September, I’ve been thinking about our friends with long trunks and floppy ears. Despite their intimidating size, elephants are incredibly social animals, with family dynamics and emotional needs akin to those of humans. Maybe that is the reason why so many fantastic children’s books feature friendly elephants as their main characters!

Two of my own favorite books as a child featured elephants. The first is The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff. Originally written in French, this rags-to-riches tale of an orphan elephant has been a worldwide favorite for decades. And who hasn’t longed to visit the kingdom of the elephants to enjoy tea with Babar, Céleste, and the kindly old lady?

Another favorite elephant character is Horton, of Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg and Horton Hears a Who! Even when all the other animals in the jungle laugh at Horton for trying to hatch an egg or for protecting a speck of dust that holds a civilization of Whos, Horton persists in believing in himself and doing what he feels is right.

Luckily for the newest generation of young readers, elephants continue to populate the pages of new children’s books!


One great new elephant character is Gerald, the elephant of the award-winning Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems. The most recent addition to the series, My New Friend Is So Fun! introduces a new character to these best friends. Will their duo become a friendly trio? This is a great series for new readers because it includes a lot of word repetition and dialogue. Mo Willems also incorporates witty humor into the series, which ensures that parents will enjoy reading along with their children.



Another humorous new children’s book featuring an elephant character is Elephantantrum by Gillian Shields, with illustrations by Cally Johnson-Isaacs. Elephantantrum tells the story of Ellie, a spoiled young girl who learns to be polite and considerate after an elephant comes to town and wreaks havoc on her life. This fun, colorful story offers children a humorous lesson on tantrums and good manners.


One last sparkling addition to the cast of elephant characters in children’s literature is Cinderelephant, by Emma Dodd. Cinderelephant is an enormous, trunk-filled take on the classic Cinderella fairy tale. Cinderelephant is forced to serve her warthog stepsisters until a night at the elephant prince’s ball changes her life forever. Will the elephant prince be able to find the owner of the giant glass slipper left behind by his true love at the ball?



You can find all these new elephant characters at Scholastic Reading Club.  Who are your favorite elephant characters? Are any of them on this list? Let us know in the comments below!



About the Author: Rebecca Yoshor is crazy for elephants! 

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September 29, 2014