Ernest the Elephant – Anthony Browne

Standard

Walker Books Australia

May 2021

ISBN: 9781406395099
Imprint: Walker

Australian RRP: $27.99
New Zealand RRP: $29.99

Anthony Browne never fails to deliver does he? In this vibrant new picture book from the master a little elephant makes quite a big mistake when he wanders away from his herd and into the tempting jungle, mostly because he was feeling just a little bit bored with everything being the same. How often does that sense of ‘blah’ incite a bit of mischief in humans, whether small or big?

At first Ernest finds his jungle journey rather exciting but when he realises that he is quite lost and has no idea at all of how to find his family, his emotions rapidly change. Ernest knows he needs help and he asks one after another of rather large imposing animals; a rude gorilla, a weary lion, an impolite hippo and an uncaring crocodile but none of these are willing to help.

Finally the little elephant comes upon a tiny mouse who quickly volunteers to help. Ernest is pretty sure that such a small creature would be of no assistance at all but working together, the pair are quickly able to locate Ernest’s mum and family.

It is a simple story of how we can find help in the most unexpected of places and that it is not the ‘big important’ people who can be the best friends, and it will certainly resonate with even the youngest of readers who will be able to pinpoint the crux of the theme very easily. My first thought for a teaching experience was to compare and contrast with Aesop’s Lion and the Mouse – one story so very old and one so fresh and modern, yet both with the same simple and direct message.

As always Browne’s illustrations are simply stunning and bring joy to the reader – that jungle certainly is tempting with its jewel-like colours!

Highly recommended for little ones from as young as three for a read-aloud and on up to Year 2/3.

Teaching notes available here

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