Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

What Elephant?

Côté, Geneviève (Author/Illustrator)
Kids Can Press 2008. 32 pages
First published: 2006
ISBN: 9781554532704 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, figurative language, point of view

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

“There’s an elephant in my house!” George cries to the neighbourhood in the opening of this light-hearted tale about knowing your own mind. None of George’s neighbours believe him, and they convince him he was “probably out in the sun too long.”

The tone of the story is droll: “And since the elephant had blown its very large nose on every single one of his bed sheets, George covered himself with old newspapers.” Illustrations of free-sketch style line, washed in vibrant watercolours, make a fitting visual accompaniment. Children will relish images such as the elephant reading while doing a headstand, as George tries to vacuum around him. The language is rich and quite dense for a picture book, appropriate for confident young readers or for reading aloud.

Having convinced George there must be no elephant, when friends visit George’s yard they doubt their own eyes: “Not even the faintest shadow of an elephant’s tail!” The problem is resolved when a circus trainer arrives, relieved to find the missing star of his show. Shamefacedly, everyone admits they were pretending not to see. The expression “the elephant in the room” is brought to life with charm and humour—and a fine object lesson—in this enjoyable book.

  •  

    Discuss the lesson that George learned in the story. How does it relate to you and your life?

  •  Write the story from the point of view of the elephant.
  •  

    Talk about the expression the elephant in the room and how it relates to this story. Discuss examples of classroom or schoolyard situations where we could help someone by speaking up.

  •  Talk about George and the elephant. Why doesn’t George want to see the elephant?
  •  Talk about situations where you did not want to see something happening.
  •  

    Collect everyday activity vocabulary from the story (e.g. lounging in the flowerbed, sunbathing in the yard).

  •  

    Talk about the expression the elephant in the room and how it relates to this story. Discuss classroom or schoolyard situations where we could help someone by speaking up.

  •  Plan and perform a skit about such a situation.
  •  Look for other idioms that include animal names.
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture