"When Elephant Goes to a Party"

When Elephant Goes to a Party


Book: When Elephant Goes to a Party

Author: Sonia Levitin

Illustrator: Jeff Seaver

Publisher: Scholastic, republished in 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0873587518 (hardcover)

ISBN-10: 0873587510 (hardcover)

ISBN-13: 978-0439391269 (paperback)

ISBN-10: 0439391261 (paperback)

Language level: 1

(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)

Reading level: Ages 4 and up

Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)

Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Disclosure:  Any books donated for review purposes are in turn donated to a library.  No other compensation has been received for the reviews posted on Home School Book Review.

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Levitin, SoniaWhen Elephant Goes to a Party (published in 2001 by Northland Publishing).   A little girl is invited to attend a birthday party.  She telephones her hostess and asks if she may bring a friend who just happens to be a sizable, wide-eyed and rather nervous-looking, gray elephant to the party.  Having received gracious permission to come, Elephant gives careful consideration to her outfit and the correct gift to bring.  The little girl advises her to be sure to bathe and brush her tusks beforehand.   At the party, Elephant is reminded to speak politely to the other guests, to refrain from climbing on the furniture, and be sure to wait her turn during any games.  She should never snoop in closets and eat only her share of the cake and ice cream and not fill her trunk with goodies to take home–all behaviors that characterize a good guest. The narrator even offers advice on situations unexpected–call collect if telephoning relatives in Arabia or Africa and do not sit on the cake.

This understated book about manners explains all the things that a child should know about how to behave when attending a birthday or other kind of party using absurd situations and deadpan humor.   While the premise may seem old-fashioned to some, the tone is fresh and humorous.  The large computerized pen-and-colored-pencil line illustrations show the elephant with a pink bow between her ears and feature her rotundity and outstretched trunk.   This tale of etiquette do’s and don’ts is as witty, gentle reminder to children of what it means to mind their p’s and q’s.  Some of the topics discussed include saying Thank You and even washing hands after using the toilet.  Youngsters will delight in the clever story of Elephant’s first invitation to a party that will hold their attention, and they will also learn a few social graces along the way.  We checked this book out of the library when our younger son Jeremy was a beginning reader to give him some extra practice and also to accompany his “social studies.”

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