Elephantantrum! by Gillian Shields and Cally Johnson-Isaacs

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Elephantantrum! by Gillian Shields and Cally Johnson-Isaacs

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Struggling to tame your spoilt little darling? Try a dose of Elephantantrum. Funny, but with a good 'message' too!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: May 2013
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1444904017

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Ellie is one of those children. You know, the sort you see lying on the floor in the supermarket screaming that they won't go anywhere until you buy them the pink fairy doll with the flashing wand. We've all been there, or at least I have an awful memory of trying to fold my daughter back into her pushchair in M&S and her going stiff as a board and screaming a high pitched scream for what felt like 5 hours rather than 5 minutes! Anyway, Ellie gets whatever she wants when she wants it, and this time she's decided that she wants an elephant. Her dad manages to get her one, but once the elephant arrives Ellie finds that sometimes getting what you wish for isn't quite what you actually wanted...

I really liked this story. It's written in a very engaging way. Ellie is cringingly awful, and as a parent I felt angry at her father for immediately complying with her wishes. But then when the elephant arrives he turns out to be a bit of a handful himself. He uses all of Ellie's things, he never says please and thank you, and if he doesn't get his way he throws an enormous elephantantrum! And an elephant having a tantrum is really quite something! It turns out in the end that the elephant's bad behaviour prompts a turn around in Ellie's behaviour until soon the two of them are playing nicely and having really the most marvellous time!

The ending is quite moving as when Ellie says she hopes the elephant will stay forever he explains that he can't because other children need him. Ellie, who is now a rather different sort of child altogether, is understanding and fortunately when we turn the page we find that although the elephant has gone he has left a reminder of himself behind and a note saying that he'll see Ellie soon. Thank goodness for that! I was getting a little teary myself thinking they'd never see each other again!

This is a lovely, fluid story to read aloud and especially good if you're feeling a bit shouty as you can throw yourself into the tantrum mode! The text works well as a story alone, but the gorgeous illustrations really bring the whole book to life. Ellie is sweetly round-faced. I like that she spends the start of the book wearing a pink feather boa and a pair of fairy wings. I love that once the elephant arrives he is wearing the wings and boa! The pictures are colourful, endearing, and big enough to hold up and show everyone if you're reading this to a group of children.

I like the ideas behind this story - that children shouldn't be given everything they ask for, and that saying please and thank you, and knowing how to share are important skills and make life much more fun. There's no heavy feeling of learning a lesson though and this is a really enjoyable, funny story that's great to share probably with those around 2 and a half and older.

For more fun with elephants try Elephant by Petr Horacek or Elmer and Super El by David McKee. For more on tantrums have a look at Llama Llama Shopping Drama by Anna Dewdney.

Buy Elephantantrum! by Gillian Shields and Cally Johnson-Isaacs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Elephantantrum! by Gillian Shields and Cally Johnson-Isaacs at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy Elephantantrum! by Gillian Shields and Cally Johnson-Isaacs at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Elephantantrum! by Gillian Shields and Cally Johnson-Isaacs at Amazon.com.


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