When the lovely Michelle Robinson offered me a choice of one of her books for the Rainbow library I did a bottom wiggle dance and leapt at this one. It has a grumpy rhino in it! What is a girl to do??
Now, if an elephant stands on your foot, keep calm. You do not want to startle an elephant! Trust me, a startled elephant is not a pretty sight. And, as this riot of a book shows, it only leads to trouble and…dare I say it… Mild Peril!
Part guide to jungle etiquette, part comedy, If an Elephant follows our intrepid explorer through the jungle as elephants are startled, tigers are attracted and rhinos are woken. Anyone who has seen me before a heavy caffeine dose will know how unwise it is to wake a rhino.
Michelle Robinson has stepped away from the traditional narrative form and speaks directly to the main character of the story, offering advice and, ultimately, exasperation when her words of wisdom go unheeded.
This is quite a complicated structure for young children to deal with but once they’ve got the hang of it (which they do quickly of course because they are far smarter than your average startled elephant) they will relish the humour and the zany exploits of our hapless hero.
The joy of this book is the way it lends itself to performance. Children will be up on their feet and joining in. The text referring to ‘you’ immediately brings the reader (or listener) in to the story and the direct instructions are a perfect invitation to act and play. It’s a great book to read aloud to a group of energetic children.
Hurrah for a book with a grumpy rhino in it. Hurrah for a book that challenges children, makes them think and encourages them to perform and play. Hurrah for a book that makes children laugh out loud.
Source: Kindly donated to Rainbow library by the author.
Published July 2012