Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to decorate an elephant's ear

During the school holidays, Tom and Annalise made a couple of cute elephants at a craft class at Mill & Mia. They had great fun in stuffing their elephants, sewing them shut (with a little help), and then decorating the ears.

I had no idea that elephant ear decorating could be so character revealing! Tom glued one sequin on each ear and was finished. Done. No need for anything else. Less is best. Annalise foraged around in the amazing bead and ribbon container, searching for just the right elephant accessories, adding more and more, including a ribbon for the trunk. She then had the foresight to ask Melissa if she could take some beads home, because, well, a girl can never have too many beads.

I think Annalise will be back for more craft classes and story time, which also includes morning tea and an activity.

In stark contrast to these soft elephants, I bring you “Elephants, a Book for Children” by Steve Bloom. This is a fabulous non-fiction book – the outstanding feature is the photography. Close-ups of elephant toes, skin, tusks. Amazing shots of elephants playing with each other, interacting with humans and swimming. This book could be enjoyed by little ones for the photography, and then used as a reader for early readers, particularly for kids who prefer fact to fiction. There’s not a lot of text on each page, and as it is divided into sections, it would feel satisfactory to attempt to read one section or one page at a time.

The language is straightforward –

Elephants have funny feet. You can’t see their toes. All you can see are their toenails peeping out from a thick cushion of flesh. The cushion helps them walk safely on all kinds of ground, and it also makes them move very quietly. They’re so quiet that you never even heard the one that just walked down your street. Take a look through the window. Is he still there?

I think it’s fascinating how children identify with or adore a particular type of animal, for a reason we can’t fathom. Tom has always loved elephants. This description of elephants could almost be applied to my Tom!

Elephants are very intelligent and usually very gentle. They have long memories, deep feelings, and lots of love for their family and friends.

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