During my search for simple, diverse books for little ones, Elmer by David McKee was recommended to me. We are familiar with the character from a small set of board books we own but, I confess I had not read the full Elmer story for many years. So last week I decided to dig out my brother’s Bumper Elmer Collection and read it to the Mini Reviewers.
We found Elmer to be a fantastic book to explore the concept of diversity together. The story itself is about a brightly coloured patchwork elephant, who loves a good joke. He thinks the other elephants find him funny because he is different, so in an attempt to blend in with all the other “elephant-coloured” elephants, he paints himself with berry juice. Elmer soon realises that being different may actually be a good thing. When the rain washes away his disguise and his true colours are revealed, the other elephants reassure him that they love him just the way he is. Declaring the day “Elmer Day”, they plan to paint themselves multicoloured once a year in his honour.
|Elmer The Recycled Elephant!|
This really is a classic children’s book, which has truly stood the test of time. Filled with humour and colourful illustrations, the book is very appealing to young children. Elmer himself is such a memorable and lovable character but most importantly the book imparts the vital message - just be yourself!
Elmer The Recycled Elephant!
Inspired by a craft tutorial for “Elmer Lanterns” on “Sun Hats and Wellie Boots”, we have made our own recycled Elmers. They were extremely simple to make and have been a huge hit with the children.
For each elephant we used an empty plastic milk carton; lots of small squares of colourful tissue paper (mostly old packaging); two googly eyes; PVA glue; two small pieces of cardboard; and a hot glue gun.
To make each Elmer I started by cutting the milk carton. I just cut it straight across as I wanted it to be as easy as possible for the children to hold to decorate it. It is possible to cut legs and even a tail shape into the carton (see the original tutorial). I then cut the handle slightly shorter to make the trunk.
Next the children set to work covering their carton in watered down PVA glue using old paint brushes. They stuck the small squares of colourful paper all over their cartons. Then they applied more of the glue mixture over the tissue paper. This got fairly messy but nothing a baby wipe or two couldn’t solve!
We decided that our elephants needed ears, so I cut ear shapes out of thin cardboard, the children then decorated these with more tissue paper.
We left everything to dry for a few hours before attaching the googly eyes and ears to the plastic carton using the hot glue gun. (I had wanted to use PVA glue for this but it wasn’t adhesive enough).