Along with monkeys, elephants are a favorite animal in my family. Here are some of our favorite books, songs, and rhymes for celebrating pachyderms.
Miss Katie's Recommended Books
- The Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont
An elephant takes a baby all around town, giving him treats, but the baby never once says please. The merchants who provide the treats follow them down the road, the line growing longer after each stop. This is a great cumulative tale that uses lots of repetition and silliness to keep kids engaged. It also makes a great flannel board.
- Just a Little Bit by Ann Tompert
An elephant and a mouse have a hard time playing together on a seesaw until other animals help them balance their weights. This story provides a fun lesson about weight and gravity and delivers the message that one can make a difference, no matter how small he is. The cartoonish illustrations by Lynn Munsinger infuse the book with warmth and humor.
- Peanut Butter and Jelly by Nadine Bernard Westcott
This popular childhood chant about making peanut butter and jelly is retold by Westcott using elephants as the crackers of nuts and smashers of berries. Repetition and rhythm grab the kids' attention and encourage everyone to sing along.
- Splash! by Flora McDonnell
On a very hot day, a baby elephant knows just how to cool off all the animals - by leading them to splash in the water! This is a larger-sized book so kids can see it easily in any size story room and in any size crowd. The animals are familiar and easily recognized, and the book has lots of words and phrases that kids will want to repeat back to the reader.
Other Possible Books
- My Elephant by Petr Horacek
- Sitting in my Box by Dee Lillegard
- The Elephant Wish by Lou Berger
- I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems
- In the Forest by Marie Hall Ets
- Seven Blind Mice by Ed Young
- Elmer by David McKee
- Tweak Tweak by Eve Bunting
- Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
- The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
- One Elephant Went out to Play
This counting song, where elephants continually join the fun playing in a spider web, would make a great flannel board for a smaller story time group. Each child could be given the opportunity to add an elephant to the spider web until everyone has had a turn. For larger groups, or when props aren't available, just count up to five on your fingers. (Note: This link is from KCLS, and they add the word "little" to the lyrics where it doesn't really fit. I usually omit that word.)
- This is the Way (Elephant Style)
Stomp your feet, swoosh your tail, and wiggle your ears like an elephant with this action song to the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.
- If You're an Elephant and You Know It
Use If You're Happy and You Know It as a model for an elephant-themed action song. Ask the kids to suggest elephant-like motions to make and do them together as a group.
- I Asked My Mother for Fifty Cents
This rhyme is excerpted from the handclapping classic, Miss Mary Mack. Toddlers especially love to reach up as high as they can. I usually use an elephant puppet just to have a visual to accompany the words.
- The Elephant Goes Like This and That
This short rhyme is easy to memorize and fun to act out, and it has a great punchline. It also serves as a fun way to reinforce the names of body parts and to get kids out of their seats and moving around.
- Elephants in the Bathtub
More and more elephants are swimming in the bathtub - until they all fall in! This rhyme is best done on the flannel board, with the kids doing the motions along with the rhyme.
- Up the Hill
An elephant is only one of the animals who climbs up the hill in this rhyme, but you could easily put him first or last in the lineup to emphasize the theme. This is another one that works well on the flannel board - it almost requires a visual component to be successful.