Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary, Intermediate
Author: David McKee
Publisher: Andersen Press USA
While life swarms on around him, Elmer the elephant enjoys the beauty and peace of nature. A beautiful spider web doesn’t entice the monkeys to pause, but Elmer observes it thoughtfully. Elmer points out an interesting log to the crocodiles—but they keep on moving. He invites the snake to admire the colorful flowers to no avail. Even the lion won’t delay his nap to look at the waterfall. Rush, rush, rush—no one has time to appreciate nature with Elmer. Eventually, Elmer finds and joins his cousin Wilbur in watching the sun setting and stars rising in the night sky. But even Elmer remarks that there’s no time to count all the stars.
In typical David McKee fashion, this book allows readers to make deeper inferences by not telling too much. Simple but varied vocabulary creates interesting prose and dialogue for the repetitive structure of the plot, while the vivid, full-page illustrations of the jungle provide a solid backdrop for the story. The book many not draw many laughs from readers, but it offers a chance for a wide range of ages to discuss the importance of being mindful of one’s surroundings. Acting as somewhat of a social commentary, the book may encourage readers and parents of readers to step back from the busy pace of life and, essentially, take time to smell the flowers.