Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Elmer and Rose

Introduce diversity to children starting on day one of the new school year using Elmer and Rose!

McKee, David.
Elmer and Rose.
March 2010.
Lerner Books.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Grandpa Eldo has a special quest for Elmer and his cousin Wilbur - helping Rose find her way back to her herd of elephants. Grandpa Eldo knows a special secret about Rose that he wants Elmer and Wilbur to learn about on their own - a secret that will ensure Elmer and Wilbur will learn a lesson that will last a lifetime - what it really means to be unique.
"Rose was nice," said Wilbur.
"I thought she was unique, and she thought the gray elephant was unique."
"They're probably all nice, unique or not," said Elmer.
This was my first introduction to Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, and let me be blatantly honest in saying I can't wait to read more about Elmer! To me, some of the best stories teach lessons in subtle ways that are still easy for children to comprehend and this is definitely one of those stories! I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I'm looking for a way to use this story with my preschoolers on the first day of school to show that each one of them is unique and has much to offer in his/her own way!

Reading/Learning Activity:
  • Share this book with your child(ren). Discuss the important message Grandpa Eldo wants his grandchildren to learn. Once you have discussed the message and children understand that the different appearances of the animals are only part of what makes them unique and special, give each child a copy of the "Elmer" handout. Encourage your child to decorate an "Elmer" that represents him/her. (If your child is a sports fan, perhaps they'd decorate Elmer to look like a soccer ball. If he/she is a fan of blue, have them decorate Elmer using all things blue - buttons, ribbon, crayons, markers, paint, glitter, etc.). Allow your child(ren) free reign of the craft closet, placing few (to no) limits on their creativity to create an Elmer that represents them!
  • If you are doing this as part of a classroom, display all of the Elmers on a bulletin board, with a catchy title... something along the lines of, "We are all Pieces of the Patchwork Quilt that Make Our Class Unique!" - or something along those lines at least!

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