The story is about an elephant, Elmer, who is born unlike the other elephants; he is patchwork coloured! Where the other elephants in his herd are elephant-coloured, Elmer's hide is yellow, white, black, orange, pink, purple and more. Elmer is not only patchwork, his personality is all sorts of fun and goofy. This is not your standard elephant, people!
Eventually, Elmer grows weary of being a patchwork elephant. Whoever heard of a patchwork elephant, anyway? When Elmer goes out of his way to disguise himself as an elephant-coloured elephant, he must discover for himself why being a little bit different can be a gift.
I cannot say enough good things about this book. Elmer is amazing to gawk at. He is the funkiest elephant ever, and your kids will probably think so too. Also, the quirky-yet-somehow-beautiful pictures of the animals keep the burgeoning reader interested.
The last double-page spread has been burned into my memory since the first time I had this book read to me, because it is so mind-blowingly original and awesome. The lesson in this story is a little didactic, but not intrusively so, and the message is a good one; 'be yourself'.
If you're still not convinced, and prefer testimony from a child, my 21-month-old son lets me read this to him from first page to last -- and that's a lot of words for a kid his age. Like I said, this book is a classic, yet it doesn't seem dated at all. If you like a strong narrative, engaging illustrations and a positive message, then go check out this book. Do it now!
Author/Illustrator: David McKee
Publisher: Andersen Press, $14.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1989
For ages: 4-7
Type: Picture Book