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If an Elephant Went to School

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Would an elephant learn the ABCs if she went to school? No way! She would learn to use her trunk as a nose, a straw, a hand, and a hose!

Through a series of questions and answers, readers learn about animals and their unique behaviors. And in the end, you might find yourself asking just what would you learn.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published August 11, 2015

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Ellen Fischer

23 books3 followers

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5 stars
36 (25%)
4 stars
61 (43%)
3 stars
33 (23%)
2 stars
9 (6%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 32 reviews
Profile Image for Vera Godley.
1,695 reviews31 followers
July 22, 2015
I previously reviewed Ellen Fischer’s If An Armadillo Went to a Restaurant and found it to be fun to look at just what various animals and critters would eat at restaurants. Ms. Fischer has just released a second in this series and it is just in time for those little ones going to school – either for the first time or returning – If An Elephant Went to School. Frankly, I enjoyed this one even more than the Armadillo story. This is just plain fun.

Laura Woods is again illustrating this book just as she did the Armadillo book. These animals are full of life, expression, and just down right cute. I like that she uses different tones of color in her illustrations than we normally find in kiddie books. She deviates a bit from basic primary colors and incorporates teals, russets, and variations of browns, greens and oranges. The colors literally pop.

There are lessons to be learned for these critters going to school. Each learns what is best for that type of critter. Would the bee learn to read? No, the bee would learn to make honey.

The story is great as a read-aloud book for group settings such as library groups, classrooms, etc. as well as reading it individually to a child. It can also be read by early readers, though the vocabulary right be beyond really early readers.

At the end, the question is raised, “If I went to school what would I learn?” Then the comparison of learning what critters learn and what a child learns is brought about ending on a happy note where the child is brought into the story himself.

Enter Giveaway on Goodreads.com Giveaway dates: May 21-Aug 11, 2015, 3 copies available - Countries available: US

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by the Mighty Media Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
Profile Image for Kristina Jean Lareau.
2,932 reviews35 followers
February 13, 2016
When animals go to school, do they learn Math and Spelling? No, they would learn how to animal.

The title of this book is rather deceptive. I was expecting a plot a la If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Instead, the author offers a variety of typical options for learning and counters with what real animals could learn at school. While there is factual information couched in this picturebook, it does lack any type of plot. Sure, it has a definite structure and fantastic illustrations, yet thee"If a animal went to school, would it learn xyz? No, it would learn animal thing," went on about four spreads too long. I lost interest and just wanted to skim through to discover the twist.

Fun, informative, well-designed, but it's carefully rendered structure proves to be more of a detriment than anything.
Profile Image for Adena.
76 reviews4 followers
August 14, 2018
3.5/5 — I absolutely love the illustrations!
Profile Image for Anna.
2,009 reviews12 followers
July 17, 2019
I really loved the illustrations in this book. They are beautiful, vibrant, and I love the way they are laid out. Great design and layout! The story was alright. I expected this book to be about an elephant going to school and it was completely the opposite.


It was about guessing what an animal (random animals) would learn at school and then you would find out what that animal would actually learn if they went to school. So it was cool to see what each animal would learn if they actually went to school and I love how the ending ended with an open-ended question on what would you learn if you went to school. I thought that was a brilliant way to end the book.

Overall the book was alright. I would recommend this book just to look at the illustrations because they are gorgeous and worth it. Otherwise there's not much of a story/plot.
Profile Image for Arminzerella.
3,733 reviews86 followers
September 5, 2017
Ellen Fischer and Laura Wood imagine what it would be like if different animals went to school - what would they learn? Often picture book animal characters are shown anthropomorphically - doing human/kid things that they wouldn't ever do otherwise (like reading, writing, math, etc.). In this book, an elephant student learns to do things with her trunk, a frog learns to catch bugs with her tongue, and a skunk learns how to spray. Kids will giggle over the animals depicted in human schools and possibly learn something new about how they learn/behave in the wild. A very realistic back to school book!
Profile Image for Laura.
96 reviews1 follower
September 1, 2018
I love the predictability of the text. I used with my younger ID classes to work on using core boards and iPads to practice identifying No/Not/Don't/Yes.

I like the exposure to a wide variety of animals and their skills. I also like the contrasting of what animals need vs. what we would need.

Also, great for kids just starting school and helping them understand what happens at school.
Profile Image for Reshamad.
282 reviews7 followers
June 24, 2015
Have you ever wondered.. If an ELEPHANT went to school, what would she learn?Would she learn to read and write like you do? NO! He would probably learn to use her trunk in different ways! What if an OWL wen to school? What would he learn in class? Counting from one to hundred?

This is another super sweet, quirky, silly but FUN installment from Ellen Fischer’s series of books. After her first “If an Armadillo went to a Restaurant” , we were looking forward to another “If a __” book and this one DOES NOT disappoint!

Laura Woods lovely illustrations of the various young animals learning survival skills that are so different than ours. We love that “If an Elephant went to School” is similarly illustrated and feels like a true companion book to her earlier “If an Armadillo went to a Restaurant”.

If an Elephant went to School is best suited for beginning readers and can be used in lessons for Cause and Effect. It also makes for a perfect read aloud for younger audiences. Each page follows a pattern where the author asks the reader what if an animal went to school, what would he/she learn? You will find animals such as the zebra, a frog, a honey bee and even a SKUNK!

With gentle pacing and simple language, little readers will be thrilled to learn how different animals require different skills for survival.

A great companion picture book non-fiction for libraries, classrooms and home reading.

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publishers for an honest opinion. I have NOT received any compensation for this review. All reviews and opinions are entirely my own!
Profile Image for Erik This Kid Reviews Books.
836 reviews70 followers
September 7, 2015
Synopsis- If an elephant went to school, what would she learn? Why, she most certainly wouldn’t learn the ABC’s! She’d learn how to use her trunk as a multi-tool! What about an owl? What would he learn? And a zebra? What about him? And, most importantly, what would YOU learn, if you went to school?

What I Thought- This is a really cute picture book! I like that it teaches kids about what animals would learn to live a nice life for them. It’s funny how it shows the animal in question first in a school environment with other animals doing “normal” things, and then in their natural habitat. I also like how the reader learns synonyms for “no way” throughout the book. Ms. Wood’s illustrations are funny, and you seem to catch the enthusiasm that her drawings embody. They go great with Ms. Fischer’s writing style, which is of a nice, “imagine that!” kind of attitude. I love the scenarios the animals find themselves in, and the very last pages are totally awesome!
*NOTE* I got a free copy of this book in exchange for and honest review
12 reviews1 follower
September 24, 2015
This story focuses on what an elephant would, do learn if she went to school, what would she learn? Why, she most certainly wouldn’t learn the ABC’s! She’d learn how to use her trunk as a multi-tool!.

Not only will children feel engaged with the questions and answers that are in the book, but they will also admire the fact that an animal can go to school. The author’s ‘Imagine that!’ makes it highly imaginative for children and they are able to create a picture of the elephant attending school. The story attempts to show something different to what is in reality. An important factor of this story is that the ‘what if’ encourages children to think and imagine things.

There could be an activity of children drawing animals attending school or having school equipment. Another activity they could do is role play, with different animal toys or even say the dialogues and act out.
Profile Image for Carrie Charley Brown.
307 reviews309 followers
August 1, 2015
IF AN ELEPHANT WENT TO SCHOOL offers an opportunity for young children aged 2-6 to become engaged, successful readers who also learn about animal behaviors. Through repetitive sentences, structured as questions and answers, children will experience a story they want to repeat; an important prereading skill. By comparing animals in a personified classroom environment to their own realistic habitats and behaviors, children will make text to world connections. With playful illustrations that transport the imagination to silly situations young children are sure to be entertained while being unexpectedly educated. The companion book, IF AN ARMADILLO WENT TO A RESTAURANT, utilizes the same question and answer structure which further builds prediction skills from one book to the next.
Profile Image for The Styling Librarian.
2,170 reviews194 followers
June 22, 2015
If an elephant went to school by Ellen Fischer, illustrated by Laura Wood – Release date: July 21st, 2015- I love the repeatative text this book has, lends not only to a wonderful read aloud experience for children but additionally a mentor text that has writing extension opportunities. Also, there could be a fun research writing extension for younger classes, for example: children could choose another animal to ask a question about and do a little research to share an unique feature of the animal in a rhyming way.

Companion book to: “If an Armadillo Went to a Restaurant”
Profile Image for Haven.
142 reviews
February 6, 2016
First, a disclaimer: I received this book in a goodreads first-reads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

This book is too cute for words! "If an Elephant Went to School" doesn't read like the typical picture book. Instead of content that is made up in fiction, the book produces probable cause scenarios geared to making a small child think logically. The pictures of absolutely adorable and I loved that it is educational! "If an Elephant Went to School" is an attention grabbing book that is sure to be both a parent pleaser!
Profile Image for Sandy Brehl.
Author 7 books131 followers
November 3, 2015
Youngest readers will enjoy the premise and the comic-style animal characters. The very basic information about each animal is presented simply and effectively, as are the images of school settings and learning tools. When the concluding question turns to the readers, it opens a gentle opportunity to discuss school subjects and routines for someone anticipating first days of school.

This could pair well with Janet Halfmann's ANIMAL TEACHERS, which moves the conversation about animals and how they learn in nature to a more realistc and complex level.
Profile Image for Lisa Boyd.
554 reviews10 followers
December 28, 2015
Excellent book for an older kid story time. There could be a fun back and forth about the animals and what they are expected to learn in school. This book has bright cheerful illustrations and the art style is fun. Due to the business of the illustrations, I think it would work better for prek - 1 grade story time. This book would also be great to use as a pre cursor to a science unit on any of the animals in the book or about babies or life cycles.
Profile Image for Shelli.
4,991 reviews41 followers
March 18, 2016
What would happen if an elephant went to school? What would she learn? What about an owl? or an Eel? Would they learn the same things as regular boys and girls? Of course not! This silly fun read is perfect for little ones who are curious about school or love imagining what it would like to have a skunk as a fellow student.
Profile Image for Tessa.
78 reviews1 follower
April 11, 2016
This book is really creative and fun! What would an elephant learn if she went to school? Not ABCs, real things that elephants do! Though, more artfully described ;D I love this fun format that invites your storytime group to answer back and really participate while providing fun and interesting animal facts. A great one for STEM and animal storytimes!
Profile Image for Darlene.
271 reviews2 followers
November 5, 2020
Cute. My 2 year old granddaughter thought it was going to be all elephants instead of other animals, too. She kept going back to the elephant page. It was a very cute book and my 6 year old granddaughter liked it, but it was meant more for a younger child.
Profile Image for Debbie Tanner.
2,050 reviews16 followers
August 9, 2015
This is a funny book that you could use in two ways, one to talk about the kinds of things that are expected in school but also to talk about animal behavior. The pictures are adorable and I can see this one as mentor text for writing.
196 reviews1 follower
August 19, 2015
I won this through goodreads. It is a very cute and educational book to read with children. They will learn about different animals and what they do. The book will spark great conversation with children.
Profile Image for Susan.
115 reviews
August 7, 2015
I love the silent political message of anti-standardized testing. I Love the last page showing the Arts as subjects of learning. Great book that celebrates our unique differences
26 reviews1 follower
October 23, 2015
Focuses on the jobs of specific animals and what they would learn at school, and also what humans learn. Very cute illustrations!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 32 reviews

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