________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 17. . . .January 4, 2013


How the Elephant Got Its Trunk. (Tadpoles Tales).

Robert James, reteller. Illustrated by Garyfallia Leftheri.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2012.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-7903-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-7891-2 (RLB.).

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Lisa Case.

**** /4



One day, he asked, “What does Crocodile
eat for dinner?”

Nobody would tell him.

So Baby Elephant
asked Bird.

“Go to the river
and find out!”
replied Bird.


The early reader’s book, How the Elephant Got Its Trunk, is a retelling of a story originally written by Rudyard Kipling. Kipling was known for telling “why” stories – providing possible explanations as to how certain animals developed their unique trademark features. This makes these tales perfect for the curious younger readers.

     In this story, Robert James takes young readers back to a time when elephants had short noses. The story centers on an inquisitive, curious baby elephant whose constant questions were beginning to annoy the other elephants, and they soon tired of listening to him. Seeking further explanations, Baby Elephant posed a question to Bird who sent him off to discover some answers on his own. Baby Elephant’s doing so ultimately results in the development of the nose we now associate with elephants today.

     This book is a condensed version of the story, written simply with common words. How the Elephant Got Its Trunk is an easy-to-read book, with approximately 5-8 words per page. The print is large, and the illustrations are captivating and add to the storyline, providing great visual clues to the text, thereby making the book perfect for a younger audience. Although the reading level is for younger children, older children can also enjoy the story and can take time to look at the beautiful pictures.

     The illustrations by Garyfallia Leftheri are colorfully detailed and will quickly capture the attention of even the most novice reader. Very young children who can’t yet read will also enjoy these pictures as they are very vibrant and tell the story on their own.

     How the Elephant Got Its Trunk is published by Crabtree Publishing under their “Tadpoles Tales” series. The levelled books in this series are designed and structured to support young children as they begin their journey as independent readers. “Puzzle Time!”, which consists of interactive activities, is found at the end of the book. There are two different activities – picture sequencing and a word meaning game. They are activities that even older readers can have fun playing and are a great way to discover how well children have comprehended the material that they have just read.

     How the Elephant Got Its Trunk is a great resource elementary school library resource for introducing students to the joys of reading.

Highly Recommended.

Lisa Case is an elementary/junior high school librarian from Calgary, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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