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Author: David McKee

Illustrator: David McKee

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: HarperFestival, 2014

Material: board book

Summary: Elmer the patchwork elephant decides to cover himself in grey berry juice to try to fit in with the other elephants. Elmer soon learns that the other elephants love and appreciate him as he is. He returns to his patchwork appearance. This is a board book edition of the David McKee classic story of Elmer.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together 1 to 5; read yourself: 6 to 8

Interest Level: 1 to 6

Age of Child: Read with a 14-month-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: My daughter liked looking at the pictures of the elephants, but she was unable to stay focused for the story.

Adult Reader Reaction: I have always loved Elmer! It has a great theme and delightful illustrations. I was not surprised that my daughter was unable to focus as we read this book because it has a lot of text compared to most board books.

Pros: Elmer is a lovable main character! He carries the theme of the importance of being yourself very clearly to young audiences. The book has beautiful illustrations that will engage even the wiggliest audience.

Cons: This story really does not adapt well to being a board book. It has more text than a typical board book. Babies and toddlers often cannot stay still for a lengthy book, which means they aren't listening to the story.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow this edition. Buy a hard cover version for your home library. I will buy this for my daughter when she is older. I think she will appreciate when she can sit still for longer stories.


Educational Themes: Thinking of the picture book version, there are times in the story when you can ask young readers about the what they see and the way they feel. The theme is about being who you really are. You might talk about that in the context of friendship.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, animal characters, classic literature, friendship, life lessons

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2015

Other Reviews: See Critics Reviews at; and reviews and reader feedback at


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