Monday, July 12, 2010
Elmer and Mali
In our family, in the school holidays, it’s almost mandatory to go to the zoo. The kids were keen to see Mali, the baby elephant. Tom has always loved elephants, and so we have a range of elephant books at home. Mum bought Tom a little set of five Elmer books when he was two, and he has loved them almost literally to bits.
‘Elmer’ by David McKee
Elmer is a patchwork elephant so he stands out from the other grey elephants in the jungle. When Elmer decides he doesn’t want to be different any more, he finds a way to colour himself grey so he can blend in. Elmer is so pleased when he isn’t recognised by the other animals in the jungle – he is simply called elephant, rather than Elmer. However, Elmer’s colourful personality soon bursts through his grey exterior.
“Oh Elmer,” gasped an old elephant. “You’ve played some good jokes but this has been the biggest laugh of all. It didn’t take you long to show your true colours.”
Elmer is a really likeable character – he has a good sense of humour, he appreciates family and he’s happy to help out. The small size of these books make them fabulous to tuck into handbags to entertain little ones. There is a reasonable amount of text on each page so they might be a bit long for the more wriggly two year-olds, but the stories will appeal to that age group. And because the stories are funny – Elmer’s cousin Wilbur is a ventriloquist who likes to play tricks – Tom at 6 years still enjoys them.
So after we had seen Mali, and read Elmer and some other elephant books, we had to make our own version of a patchwork elephant! I drew a rough outline of Elmer on paper and cut out small squares of coloured and patterned paper. Annalise used heaps and heaps and heaps of glue to stick the squares on her picture. Then I cut out the elephant shape and she glued it on cardboard.
I drew another Elmer outline for Tom on brown paper but cut his elephant out, leaving the brown paper intact. Then I ruled some lines on some red cardboard, 2cm apart, folded the cardboard in half and cut on the lines. (This is the same method for making a paper lantern.) Tom used long strips of paper to weave in and out of the red cardboard, and then he stuck it behind the brown paper Elmer outline. Two different, but equally effective, patchwork elephants!