Rating: Significant Shortcomings
Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: David McKee
Publisher: Anderson Press
It has been raining for days and Elmer, the patchwork elephant, is tired of being stuck inside a cave with the rest of his herd. Many animals suggest to him that he should come inside their caves because of the rain, but Elmer still wants to go for a walk. The jungle is partly flooded, but the crocodiles are excited to swim in new places and the ducks are enjoying the weather. Elmer learns that Young Elephant is missing, so he goes to rescue Young, who is stuck on an island. Elmer gets all of the other elephants to help rescue Young. When the elephants trap him on the island as a joke, Elmer is just happy to finally have some peace and quiet.
Although stories about Elmer the patchwork elephant have been around for decades and delighted readers of all ages, this one falls a bit flat. Elmer is kind to other animals during the story, but the joke played on him by the other elephants after he uses his time and ingenuity to help Young Elephant is mean and sad. Readers can learn to take things well when people do things that could hurt our feelings, but the issue of bullying is ignored because Elmer handles it so well. Long-time Elmer fans will probably still enjoy the book, but overall it is forgettable and doesn’t handle the issue of bullying well.