Friday, March 29, 2013

PPBF: Daddy, Could I Have an Elephant?

Today's pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday

Daddy Could I Have an Elephant?,
Written by Jake Wolf ,
Illustrated by Marylin Hafner
Daddy, Could I Have An Elephant?
Written by Jake Wolf and Illustrated by Marylin Hafner

Greenwillow Books, 1996, Fiction, ages 4-8, word count 327

Pets, Animals, Imagination, Responsibility

"Daddy," said Tony, "I need a pet."
"You do?" said his father.
"Yes," said Tony.
"What kind?" said his father.
"Could I have an elephant?" said Tony.

So begins the dialogue between father and son. Tony wants a pet, but nothing ordinary will do.  His father patiently asks common sense questions about taking care of exotic animals in a city apartment.  Undeterred, Tony's answers become more and more imaginative.

What I Love:
There are plenty of books about kids who want outrageous pets.  I like this one for its wordless beginning and ending.  I love the relationship between father and son in this book: the dad is subtly teaching his son how to think through a problem.  Each time I read this as an adult, I suspect Dad has a plan in the back of his mind and is just stalling for time.  My 8 year-old reader loves the comic backstory that is added by the illustrator - an extension of the text the author wrote.

1. Take a trip to the local pet store, or better yet, a shelter.  Kids can visit and volunteer at an animal rescue center.  They have plenty of information on what it takes to care for a pet.
2. While you're at it, why not organize a drive to collect donations for your town's animal shelter.  They are always in need of food, toys,  towels, newspapers, and other supplies.  Check with the front desk to see what they need most.
3. Older readers will enjoy making origami elephants or a host of other animals available online.

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday for March 29, 2013.
Thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill 

Looking for books with similar themes?  I like Tight TimesTeacher's Pets, The Trouble With Elephants, Children Make Terrible Pets, or If I Had a Dragon.


  1. Nice origami! The title alone grabbed me, but I'd pick up anything Hafner!

    1. Marylin Hafner's work for Cricket magazine was an early influence on me, and my daughter fell in love with her characters for Ladybug. She is an inspiration.

  2. This sounds full of wonder. I can't wait to read how dad handles it.

    1. I hope you like it as much as we do. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I try to be logical, but I'm a softie for pets. I'd probably be the one figuring out how we could make the elephant thing work!

    1. You sound like my husband. If you're going for large, I'd opt for a rhinoceros.

  4. Joanne, what a great choice. Kids will love this, a will parents. Look forward to reading the beginning and end and seeing how the "pet" is handled.

  5. Wordless spreads are becoming more common at the beginning anyway, of picture books, and I often like this.

    1. This book is over 15 years old, but it still has a lot of elements which modern picture books are using successfully. I think that's what makes this picture book so worthwhile.

  6. First a book about a dog and now a book about pets. Perhaps the universe is telling me it's time to get another dog???

    1. I think a dog would be safer than an elephant anyhow. Have you heard some shelters now offer a foster-owner program? Thanks for visiting.

  7. Ha! Sounds like a very fun book! Can't wait to read it!


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