is a story about a colorful patchwork elephant who learns that being different is a good thing. This is a great story to read to young children as the book is about the importance of individuality and laughter.

The story is a tale about the elephant Elmer. Tired of being patchwork colored, Elmer sets out to look like all the other elephants by painting himself elephant color. However he finds that once he looks like all the other elephants that no one notices him anymore.

The illustrations are fun and happy. You can not help but like the colorful drawings of Elmer. The backdrops of the jungle and the elephant herd make him stand out even more. The way Elmer’s eyes are drawn give the story extra character and personality – at times happy, cheeky, sad and surprised.

First published in 1968 by David McKee, Elmer was released as a slightly different version in 1989. The story of Elmer the patchwork colored elephant is a fun book that provides a good moral story to young children.

Tips for parents

provides a great many opportunities for discussion with your child. For example:

  • Pick out the colors in Elmer’s patchwork with your child.
  • Name the different animals with your child as Elmer walks through the jungle.
  • Talk to your child about how it they should be themselves and learn to have fun being different. Elmer worried about being different but in the end was happy with who he was.
  • The lesson from the book is that if we are all the same then everything would be terribly boring. Being different is good thing and differences are what makes things fun and interesting.
  • This is a great book for teaching children to look for the letter ‘E’.

David McKee

David McKee is Brittish author and illustrator that has over 30 books to his name. Publishing his first book in 1974, he is most famous for his series of books on Elmer, Mr Benn and King Rollo.

The Mr Benn and King Rollo series have also been adopted into animated series.


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