Sunday, January 22, 2006

Elephants Can Paint Too

Arnold, Katya. 2005. ELEPHANTS CAN PAINT TOO. New York: Atheneum. ISBN 0689869851 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]

ELEPHANTS CAN PAINT TOO is an inviting nonfiction book for young readers. Arnold takes a simple and informative approach. "I teach in two schools. One is in the city. The other is in the jungle. Some of my students have hands. Others have trunks." She then proceeds to show page by page the similarities and differences between teaching painting to human children and to elephants. Informative sidebars provide more information about elephants without interfering with the flow of the simple text. "Some students eat grass. Others eat peanut butter and jelly. But they all love cookies." The corresponding side bar reads "Elephants are vegetarians that eat grass, leaves, twigs, and fruit. They also like human food, especially ice cream. Each day they eat about three hundred pounds of food (as much as twelve cows eat) and drink thirty-five gallons of water (as much as a whole bathtub full). They use their trunks to put the food into their mouths and to slurp up the water." Arnold's use of comparisons is useful for explaining things to both children and adults. Her writing can also be humorous, one sidebar reads, "Elephants have 150,000 muscles in their trunks. (Our entire body has only 639 muscles.) Some elephants hold the brush by wrapping their trunks around it. Others hold it inside their trunks. If an elephant throws the brush away or eats it, he probably won't become an artist." But the true treasure of ELEPHANTS CAN PAINT TOO are the photographs by the author, Katya Arnold. There is also an author's note providing more information about how you can buy elephant art and support the preservation of Asian elephants.

Have kids create and display their own artwork (especially paintings).

Show kids more elephant art by visiting the official website:

Other elephant books
Arnold, Caroline. ELEPHANT. ISBN 0688113451
Redmond, Ian. EYEWITNESS: ELEPHANT. ISBN 0789465914
Sobol, Richard. AN ELEPHANT IN THE BACK YARD. 0525472886

By Becky Laney

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