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Don't think about Purple Elephants
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Don't think about Purple Elephants

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Sometimes Sophie worries -- not during the day when she is busy with family and friends, but at night when everything is calm and quiet. Her family all try to help, but somehow they just make her worries worse.

Until her mother thinks of a new approach ... that might just involve an elephant or two! But wait, don't think about purple elephants, whatever you do! Whimsical
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by EK Books (first published February 22nd 2015)
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Average rating 4.25  · 
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 ·  65 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Don't Think About Purple Elephants is a picture book I've been hearing about for months. Or as the case turns out, potentially an entire year since the book was actually released. It's a book I wanted to read last year, but I could never find it in stock anywhere. So you can imagine how excited I was to discover the Newcastle Writers Festival 2016 not only featured the author Susan Whelan and the illustrator Gwynneth Jones in the same session, but they had the book in stock at MacLean's pop up ...more
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a great idea! I got this book after hearing about it on Twitter. My son is a chronic nighttime worrier. His worries are a little bit deeper (am I a good person?) but the solution has still worked. Thank you, thank you! No more midnight chats/tears because he can't sleep due to worry. *sighs in relief*
Hazel Edwards
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read a lot of picture books and regard the quality writing of them as the Rolls Royce challenge.I was very impressed by the choreographing of emotions, structure and pace of 'Don't Think About Purple Elephants'. It reads well aloud and has the child-centred comfort appropriate for the audience age. Beautifully produced and illustrated with a fanciful twist. Highly recommended and think it could also make a great classroom playscript.
Katrina McKelvey
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book to share with any child, especially little ones who worry. Illustrations enhance the beautiful message inside the bright covers. A must have!
Emma Codd
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dont Think About Purple Elephants is a charming book that tells the story of a little girl called Sophie. Sometimes Sophie worries, but not when she is busy with activities during the day, no. Sophies worries wait until she is lying in bed in the dark and quiet to start troubling her, robbing her of her sleep and leaving her very, very tired the next day. So, her family set about trying to find ways to help Sophie fall asleep and worry less. Will her mums suggestion to not thinking about purple ...more
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sophie has no worries in the daytime when she is busy at school or with her family and friends but come nighttime....that's when worry comes to try to befriend her. Her mind gets overloaded with thoughts of:

"What if they run out of milk and she couldn't have cereal for breakfast?"

"What if her favourite shirt was still in the wash and she couldn't wear it on the weekend?"

And my most favourite...

"What if Mum cooked Brussels sprouts for dinner? (Sophie didn't like Brussels sprouts.)"

Her concerned
Marilou George
Jun 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Sophie is a child that has a lot of friends, is full of life and loves to have fun. She has one little problem, when she settles down in her bed at night to sleep, she starts to worry. She worries about all kinds of things because her mind is not busy as it always is during the day. Her mother comes up with a way to try to get her to focus on something else thats silly and fun and it works.

I really liked this book; I wish that I wouldve had it when my son was little because he was a bedtime
Renee Price
Jun 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I think any child (or adult!) reading this book will be able to relate in some way. A beautiful and encouraging story about childhood anxieties. The illustrations are a perfect match to this story, in particular, the sway from colour to black and white images, representing the times Sophie worries.
This is a wonderful book - my four-year-old loves it, too!
Louise (A Strong Belief in Wicker)
A great book about small worries that can seem to be big worries at night time. Sophie is a happy girl in the day time, but at bedtime all those small worries crowd in, stop her from sleeping and make her tired the next day. What if they do run out of milk or mum cooks those awful brussel sprouts again?

Fleur Ferris
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is a regular request at our house. I have three children and they all love this book. My eldest child (8) is a night time worrier. This book has helped her combat her worrying thoughts. It has given her a simple strategy to try - and thankfully, for her, it works. I thank the author for writing this book.
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. Delightfully told with vibrant illustrations there's a tip in there for us adults with anxiety who can't sleep. I'll be thinking of purple elephants from now on!
Sarah Fairbairn
Aug 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bright, beautiful and heart warming.
Dimity Powell
May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-lit
Rosemond Cates
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A bedtime book about bedtime worries. Review can be found here:
FM Family
I guess I'm in the minority here big time but I found this book to be only ok. The illustration style is not really for me, so that was a part of it, I wasn't drawn into it. I appreciated having a book about anxiety, and the specificity of it being a child who just has nighttime anxiety rather than chronic. I'd love to know (and will read through other reviews) to get a sense of whether this approach would actually work for anxiety, but I couldn't help thinking that if it didn't work, the book ...more
Sophie S
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don't think about Purple Elephants is a book about a little girl called Sophie. Sophie is happy when she's busy during the day, but when it's time to go to sleep, she starts to worry. Her family try to help, but all their suggestions make Sophie even more worried, until one day her mum challenges her not to think about purple elephants.

This book could be used in Early Years and KS1. It shows that it is ok to feel anxious or worried at night, and encourages talking about ways to make you feel
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A helpful picture book for helping to explore clinical anxiety in primary school aged children (i.e. when the level of anxiety feels uncontrollable and impacts on their day to day life). This is a fairly gentle approach with only one CBT method suggested but it's good way of helping kids feel that they are not alone.

Miss 5 and I like to explore different books and authors at the library, sometimes around particular topics or themes. We try to get different ones out every week or so; it's fun for
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This book has been in high rotation recently. We are talking a lot about emotions with Mr 3 and he has also begun having fear of monsters under the bed. Whether it's coincidence or what have you, he seems to be having fewer night time issues since we begun reading this book. I didn't pick it up from the library because of the anxiety element but I'm glad I did pick it up because it seems to have helped regardless!
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Sophie enjoyed her days but at night she worried about so many things. She worried so much she couldn't go to sleep. Her mom helped her by telling her not to think about purple elephants. And, of course, that's all she could think about. It calmed her worries and she was able to sleep.
Use to offer support for a child who is struggling with worries.
Melissa Hicks
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Many of us face the dread on not being able to shut our brains off at night when we are trying to go to sleep. This story models how thinking about something else and getting your mind into a more positive thought can change your worries and provide calm. The illustrations are vibrant with a double page spread and symbolize imagination within the readers of this wonderful picture book.
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book (in my opinion) starts to tackle the ideas of anxiety by having Sophie worry about the many things that could come later down the road. This book is a very nice book and I highly recommend it!
Siân PJ
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: school
A perfect book for people who worry at bedtime.

Don't think about the purple elephants. No cute little purple elephants, no big purple elephants at the circus. No purple elephants at all.
Rebecca Chew
rated it it was amazing
Oct 18, 2016
Alissa Patrick
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Dec 07, 2018
Chelsea Havard
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Jul 16, 2019
Olga Kilicci
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Sep 15, 2015
Ria hartley
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Oct 25, 2019
Dena (Batch of Books)
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May 01, 2015
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Mar 25, 2018
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Jul 02, 2019
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My first two picture books, 'Don't Think About Purple Elephants' and 'The Great Sock Secret' were published as Susan Whelan. My latest picture book, 'Grace & Katie' was published as Susanne Merritt.

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