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4.23  ·  Rating details ·  10,549 ratings  ·  421 reviews
"McKee's gentle humor and love of irony are in full force in this celebration of individuality and laughter." Publishers Weekly

Elmer the elephant is bright-colored patchwork all over. No wonder the other elephants laugh at him!

If he were ordinary elephant color, the others might stop laughing. That would make Elmer feel better, wouldn't it? David McKee's comical fable
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 18th 1989 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1989)
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Matt That uniqueness should be embraced for what it adds to life.…moreThat uniqueness should be embraced for what it adds to life. (less)

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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  10,549 ratings  ·  421 reviews

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Bionic Jean
Elmer the very young elephant is just that little bit different. He lives with a herd of elephants. They might be young or old, tall or short, fat or thin. In fact there are many variations in how they look. But they are all the same colour. All except Elmer. Elmer is quirky. He is most decidedly not the same colour as the other elephants.

Elmer is a beautiful kaleidoscope of all sorts of colours. His body is a patchwork of yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue, green, black and white. His
Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I have read it with my 7 year old girl( i used to have this book for my older kids in the past and read it from the age of 4) , I put 3 stars, too much for me buy my daughter insisted for 3! The drawings are very cute but the story is meaningless and without respect for children, perhaps offering them stories with a little more depth would not hurt... being small (4-7 years old) do not mean not being able to reason and distinguish the emotions and circumstances of the events of life... to make ...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An absolute classic! My son loves it!
Lisa Vegan
Thanks to Wiebke, I’ve discovered my first Elmer book. I’m very grateful. This is a gift worthy book for new babies and for young children.

This is the first Elmer book, and there are many others. Unfortunately, my library has only a very few of the books, perhaps because they’re British books.

I am so surprised I’d never known of these books. This book was first published in 1968. I’d have thought I’d have come across them before now.

This story is charming and sweet, lighthearted, and very
Stuck in a toy-shop in German-speaking Bern on Saturday, I picked up a copy of Elmar and tried to read it. My German is very uncertain, so I don't guarantee that I understood everything. Here's a tentative plot summary:

Elmer Goes Mainstream

Elephants are notoriously unimaginative, and quietly proud of their drab, gray conformity. But every now and then, you get an exception. Elmer was just such an elephant. A natural rebel and iconoclast, this was reflected even in his pigmentation, which was a
Rosemary Standeven
Sep 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful children’s book, that will really brighten up your (and if you have children, also their) day. It is hard to feel down when you have such a wonderfully brightly coloured, happy elephant to look at.
Unfortunately, Elmer thinks that maybe the other elephants are laughing at him – for being different – instead of laughing with him – for being funny and loveable.
When he dons a ‘normal elephant’ disguise, he finds his herd have lost their sense of joy. Soon, he discovers that it is
Sophie Crane
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals
Such a beautiful book to read, each page is as colourful as the next and the story of Elmer the elephant who is different is fantastic and a brilliant way to learn acceptance at a young age. My friends love reading Elmer and so do I, it never fails to make me smile
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
since this book is called "Elmar" in german (like my baby brother) I had to "read" this cute book hah hah.
Emma Long
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The story of Elmer has always been a memorable one. From my own memories of the story from when I was little it has always held a strong yet familiar moral message.

Elmer is an elephant with a patchwork body of a variety of colours. He is a cheerful and optimistic character. However, when Elmer changes his appearance to fit in to his surroundings he is no longer recognisable by the other elephants. Of course this makes Elmer sad that he is no longer accepted and begins to understand how it feels
Oct 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Elmer is the story of an elephant that is noticeably different to the others; he is a brightly coloured patchwork elephant. However Elmer did not want to be different to the other elephants as they laughed at him, so he tried to make himself ‘elephant colour’ like the others. After hatching a plan and rolling around in berry juice to make himself ‘elephant colour’ Elmer decides that being part of the crowd is too boring and realises that being different isn’t so bad after all. At the end of the ...more
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-kids
Coperta super glossy, format larg si generos, desene ok, colorit abundent, povestea nu prea m-a dat pe spate.

The cover of the romanian edition was very glossy, the format of the book is very large, the drawings are ok, it has a lot of colors, but the story wasn`t something that I would remember over time. :)
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I loved this book as a child and having reread it now, I still really enjoyed the story.

McKee's story is full of humour and joy. It celebrates diversity and encourages children to celebrate their differences. Elmer is a very likeable character with a huge sense of fun that children would definitely be able to relate to.

The book is filled with beautifully vibrant illustrations that help to bring the plot to life. There is a pretty high picture to text ratio but there is still quite a substantial
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
A wonderful read from my childhood, one I’d certainly suggest for other youngsters. Whilst it is not my all-time favourite childhood read I can still recall all the details of this one meaning it certainly left a lasting impression upon my young mind.

And isn’t that what we want with children’s books, for them to leave a positive lasting impression?
Found this today while helping the girls do a bit of tidying. Good fun
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Elmer is a wonderful children's story with the underlying message that it is alright for everyone to be different and that we all possess unique qualities. I shared this book with Nursery children who were deeply engrossed by Elmer and his great patch work.

The primal focus of the story is on ‘Elmer ‘who is an elephant that does not resemble the other elephants in his herd. They are all grey – whereas he is remarkably dissimilar with patchwork with lots of different colours! Although Elmer keeps
Nov 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my favourite book so far. I fell in love with it from the first picture - all the grey elephants standing together with a rich green background. It seems like oil pastel, but I'm not sure. I loved the colours though - the rich, bright colours and their combinations. And when I then turned the page to see Elmer, the patchwork elephant - I was utterly enchanted. A colourful patchwork elephant!

But it wasn't just the artwork that made me love this book. I loved the character of Elmer, and
Sarah Walsh
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“Elmer was different. Elmer was patchwork. Elmer was yellow and orange and red and pink and….”

Elmer is a heart-warming, uplifting story of a young elephant that is different from all the other elephants in the herd. Unlike every other grey elephant in the herd, Elmer is a colourful, patchwork elephant. Like many young people, Elmer wishes he was the same as everyone else. One day he sets off to find a way to make himself a grey elephant. He succeeds with his wish but quickly realises that being
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was given to my son as a gift and what a fabulous book it was. It touches on the want to be accepted because of similarities rather than being unique. Therefore with this in mind, the book cleverly highlights some important themes. Rings alarm bells for me and my son!
Elmer is a patchwork elephant living among grey elephants and provides fun and laughter. He is unique, but does not see it. He decides to cover his colourful patchwork with elephant berries because he thinks that the grey
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 3 - 6 year olds
If my son was an elephant, he would be an elephant like Elmer: yellow, orange, red, pink, purple, blue, green, black, white. So many times does he stress his multiple bright colors each time he pretends to be dog, or cat. But, Elmer does not take joy in being so colorful, because after all, who wants to be different?

I was probably expecting a silly story, but it's not. It's gentle and sensitive and my son was full of empathy for Elmer. In fact, I was surprised at how much he felt for him, right
Rebekah Shuffle
Sep 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Elmer the Elephant is a fantastic book created around the theme of diversity and how it is good to be different. Elmer is an elephant whose skin is a variety of colors, in the book they described it as patchwork. Elmer is an extremely funny character and all elephant in the herd found Elmer hilarious. However Elmer wasn’t happy because he was so different and when all the elephants were just getting up Elmer slipped away into the jungle. He took a long walk into the jungle until he found what he ...more
Jamila Kamal
Jul 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Elmer the elephant” by David Mckee is definitely one of my favourite childhood stories!! I remember reading this book and being drawn to the bright colours and the comical character of Elmer the elephant.

The story uses cheerful colours as Elmer is characterised as a friendly and funny multi-coloured patchwork elephant. Elmer recognises that he appears different from the other elephants, so he covers himself in grey coloured berries to blend in with the rest of the elephants. Elmer is no longer
Hajra Natha
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Elmer- By David McKee

Elmer the Elephant is not like the rest of the herd he lives with. Elmer has a brightly coloured patchwork skin and has a cheerful, bubbly and jokey personality that brings a smile to all the other elephants’ faces. He spends his time playing jokes and entertaining the other elephants and making them smile. However, deep down felt saddened that he was different to the other elephants as they all looked the same with their grey skins and he was so different with his coloured
Nadhira Ramadhani
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
Even though I’ve seen this book at school during my volunteering placement, it was not one of the books I looked through straight away. When I finally did read the book, by the request of a very enthusiastic pupil, I regretted that I didn’t read this book sooner than I should. I must have judge this book by its cover, thinking that it might have been a jolly elephant with a colour patchwork just grazing the field and playing with his/her friends. After reading to the child, not explicitly ...more
Jackee Lawrence
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review is required for Dr. Sykes' READ3307 course at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
The recommended age level of Elmer is Pre-K to 2nd grade. The plot of Elmer, by David McKee follows a very colorful elephant named Elmer. The plot shows Elmer's insecurity with being different and how he tries to change. The plot is presented in a humorous and heartwarming way. The characterization is rather limited due to the length of the book, but it is fitting for the recommended age range.
Corinne Creighton
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Elmer is a cute and delightful story explaining two important life lessons through an lovable elephant named Elmer. The life lessons told her are that it is ok to be different and that people love you for who you are. Elmer is an multi colored elephant in his herd compared to all the other elephants that are just plain. He finds a way to look just like all the other elephants and the other elephants begin to act forlorn. Elmer is then exposed and the elephants create a parade in his honor.
Xiomara Vasquez

This story is about an elephant; Elmer is a different elephant, a special member of his pack. Elmer is not the color of the other elephants; his skin is yellow, red, orange, pink, violet, blue, green, black and white. This difference worries him and sometimes he cannot sleep, so one morning he decides that he wants to become a normal elephant and change the color of his skin, painting himself in gray like the rest of his friends.
Enchanted by his color Elmer will return to the pack, but it will
Fiona Hill
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks, ks1
Lovely story, showing children that it is our differences that make us special and that we should embrace them. Also, that it's our personality that makes us who we are not just what we look like.
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely little book about feeling different.
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: maths
A sweet and colourful book about an elephant wanting to fit in!
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
What a fun book. It's colorful, whimsical, fun and teaches a wonderful lesson.
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Elmer 1 3 Jan 20, 2017 01:50PM  
UEL Primary PGCE ...: Elmer the Elephant 1 5 Aug 18, 2014 03:22AM  
UEL Primary PGCE ...: Book Review 10 - Elmer 1 7 Aug 15, 2014 02:14AM  
UEL Primary PGCE ...: Book Review 2 - Elmer 1 6 Aug 13, 2014 03:47AM  

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David McKee (born 2 January 1935) is a British writer and illustrator, chiefly of children's books and animations. He has used the pseudonym Violet Easton. He is frequently referenced as David (John) McKee.

For his contribution as a children's illustrator he was UK nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2006.

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