Inexplicable Books We Love: Little Elephant

File this one under: dear God children respond to this book, and I am not sure why.

But I know that they do, and if you're hanging around with someone who is, say, 2, or 1, or, you know, a baby, and you're looking for some common ground, maybe a conversation starter, go out a purchase a copy of this book, read it with them, and enjoy.

(Apologies for the teeny tiny image; we gave our copy away, so I got this from Amazon. Be assured it looks appropriately silly and majestic when shown in its normal size.)

My father-in-law bought this for my girls when they were very small, and I remember having a bit of…skepticism. At that time, I had a pronounced disdain for books that used photographs for artwork, and I thought the whole thing was a bit simple. Weak. Unexciting.

Readers: I was wrong.

It's funny how difficult it is to hold off from imposing our own ideas of what makes a good story. This story is not complex: a baby elephant is with its mother. It goes slowly into the water. It splashes around. It tries to get out. It falls over! It gets up. Then, tension! For a moment it cannot find its mother! But then (spoiler alert!) there is its mother! Waiting in the shade (and being an awesomely gigantic elephant). That's it. Not much there to warrant numerous rereadings, you would think. But you would be wrong. Because we read it and read it and read it. And it never drove me crazy, like some of the many-requested books do. It was just…sweet. Which turns out to be enough.

7 thoughts on “Inexplicable Books We Love: Little Elephant

  1. I have a daughter who is slightly obsessed with elephants — I’m going to order this immediately. Maybe it will distract her from the awful, awful “Dora’s Camping Trip.” Thanks!


  2. We’ve got one other Tana Hoban books, and have borrowed others from the library. I love books with photographs, but somehow the Hoban books always get more interest than I think they will.
    Anyway, I totally just bought this one. I think at least one of my kids will love it, and possibly both. Thanks for the tip!


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