Strictly No Elephants

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

This is a touching picture book about a boy and his small pet elephant. The boy realises that having such an unconventional pet singles him out, yet he doesn’t waver in his friendship and loyalty. The pair look out for one another: when the elephant is scared of stepping on the cracks in the pavement, the boy carries him; when the boy is sad, the elephant faces those fears to walk alongside him, because that’s what friends do. They plan to attend Pet Club but feel dejected when they see the ‘Strictly No Elephants’ sign on the door, so decide to form their own group where difference is celebrated and everyone is welcome.

The minimal text is carefully considered and works harmoniously with the exquisite linocut and pencil artwork in muted colours. Emotive illustrations create an expressive visual narrative, which enables young children to develop empathy and understanding. For example, the blue-grey tones of a rainy street reflect the subdued mood of the characters when they are turned away from the pet club, while a splash of colour reveals the joy of a new friend just around the corner. An uplifting tale about friendship, diversity and inclusiveness.

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