“If an elephant stands on your foot, keep calm. Panicking will only startle it.”
I am always looking for great picture books to use during storytime. Generally, I look for books with vibrant pictures, a funny story, and some memorable read-aloud moments. I found a great little gem in What to do if an Elephant Stands on your Foot by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. This new book is one I’m sure will be very popular.
Michelle Robinson’s fun romp begins with our guide, the narrator, telling a brave little explorer that if an elephant should stand on his foot, he should keep calm. Of course, the boy does no such thing, startling the elephant and launching us into the story. Each step of the way, the guide tries to help our hero out, but advice always comes too late or is ignored, leading to further animal troubles. Because you see, when you try to run away from a startled elephant, you will only attract the notice of tigers. If you make any noise when near the tiger, a rhinoceros will hear you. And so the story goes, with the little boy landing in danger at every turn. Of course, the book ends on a happy note, one that will probably have your audience, even if it’s just an audience of one, laughing.
This book is great when read aloud because it has real momentum. I used it during storytime this past week and the kids were so curious to see what further trouble the little boy would land himself in. And with a book so heavily populated with animals, there are great opportunities to make fun animal noises (it was during this storytime that I realized my elephant imitation is a little weak). The fun, bright illustrations and cute animal faces (my favourite being the face of the offended elephant) make it a book that can be enjoyed close up or in larger groups. Overall, this was a fun and memorable book, and I’m just itching to use it again.