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How to Be an Elephant
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How to Be an Elephant

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  746 ratings  ·  207 reviews
The savanna is not an easy place to live, even for African elephants, the largest land animals on earth. If it's a challenge for these 7,000-pound giants, what's it like for their newborn babies?

An infant elephant has precious little time to learn the incredible array of skills that are necessary to keep up, from projecting her voice across a 10-octave range to using the 1
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by David Macaulay Studio
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Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Beautifully illustrated and written in a style that is both informative and interesting. Excellent example of non-fiction for younger readers.
Michele Knott
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written. If you think you have students who don't enjoy non-fiction, pull out a Katherine Roy book. They quickly change their minds!
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ohmigoodness...THIS BOOK. The fabulous information, succinctly packed into this book is amazing. I kept reading little facts to my co-worker next to me when I was reading it. ("Whoah! Baby elephants are 220 pounds when they're born!" "Wow! They have a 22-month gestation period!" "Oh, listen to this!....")

But the illustrations - oh these illustration. If you're not in love with this little baby elephant by the end of the book, you have a cold, cold heart. I think I have my first official "Emgene
May 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This beautifully illustrated nonfiction picture book takes readers through the life cycle of the African elephant and the adaptations that allow it to survive and thrive on the African savanna. Roy's paintings are jaw-dropping in their color and detail, and she also includes many thoughtful diagrams to supplement readers' understanding. The drawing comparing an elephant's trunk to a Swiss army knife is especially fun. I did find the writing style pretty dry at times... although that might just b ...more
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of my top picks for non-fiction this year--beautifully done! "It starts with a perfect family . . . a safe and stable training ground for growing up--a perfect classroom made up of welcoming trunks, available to every newborn baby." The combination of stunning illustrations and fascinating text make this a cut above the rest. It was a breath of fresh air after all the darkly illustrated, allegorical, message driven titles I have recently read, all well done, but heavy handed. Thank you , Kat ...more
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
There are some really compelling illustrations here, and some ingenious ways of displaying concepts pictorially. The text does not work for a picture book. There is too much of it, with may be why it sometimes drags. The vocabulary isn't necessarily too hard for readers, but the amount of it is overwhelming. It's like the text is out of junior encyclopedia articles, which is not bad in that context but all wrong for a picture book.

I believe the same concepts could still have been gotten across s
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved the illustrations here, and the text is also great. It may be a lot of information for very young children, but many would treasure this. I learned facts about elephants I never knew. This one is going on my gift list for both some adults and children in my family.
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing art and exceptional science, plus a great conservation message.
Alexis Imler
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Roy, K. (2017). How to be an elephant: Growing up in the african wild (First ed.). New York: David Macaulay Studio, Roaring Brook Press.

Recommended grade level: K-3
Format: Nonfiction
Themes: Mammals, animals, elephants, Africa, nonfiction
Major Awards: Keystone to Reading Book Award Nominee for Primary (2017), Lee & Low New Voices Award (2010), Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature for Picture Book (2015)

How to be an Elephant talks about the environment in which elephants have to l
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Weird story. I bring home a huge bag of picture books from the library, all considerations for the 2018 Caldecott. I thumb through them in front of the television. The first book that grabs my attention is "How to Be an Elephant," written and illustrated by Katherine Roy. As I open the book, a commercial comes on for a digital device on which artists can draw. And who should be the featured illustrator in this commercial? Katherine Roy!!! I know. Right? I freaked out. I had never heard of her un ...more
Nikki Ibarra
Content Area-Science
We would be learning about animals and where they live and how they adapt to their environment.

Remembering- List 6 different skills the baby elephant needs to learn while she is a baby.

Understanding- After reading the, use some of the skills a baby elephant needs to learn and compare it to what a baby human needs to learn.

Applying- Using a different animal of your choice, complete a venn diagram of the baby elephant and your animal to see the differences and similarities of w
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Content Area: Science
If I were in my future classroom and we were learning about Elephants through this book, after reading it to my students, I would utilize the following Bloom's Taxonomy Questions:

1) Remembering- How long did it take for the baby elephant to grow before she was born, immediately beginning her lessons in becoming an elephant?
2) Understanding- In your own words, provide me with a summary of the book.
3) Applying- The book goes on to explain that the Elephant's trunk is the most
Level 1- Remembering: How many months does it take for a baby elephant to grow before being born?

Level 2- Understanding: Describe how important an elephants social group or family is to a newborn elephant.

Level 3-Applying: What would result if a baby elephant couldn’t walk right away at birth?

Level 4- Analyzing: How would you compare a baby elephants growth to a human’s growth?

Level 5- Evaluating: What was the most interesting about the baby elephants development?

Level 6- Creating: What changes
Matthew Hoffart
Content-area crossover: Science or social studies (studies about families and development)

Twin text: Meet Me at the Moon by Gianna Marino

Rationale: These books seem like an excellent match. How to Be an Elephant focuses on how a young elephant learns to survive in the African savannah, giving lots of scientific information on what a young elephant gets taught by its mother and the other adult elephants around it. Meet Me at the Moon is a story about a young elephant having to be briefly separate
Ilse O'Brien
Sep 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolute gem. Every page informs & enlightens & even entertains. Katherine Roy portrays the beauty & wonder of biodiversity on Earth. But how does she do it? It starts with the perfect angle…The narrative hook pulls you in and makes you curious. And then…. The tone, point of view & colors in the illustrations captivate you. And then…The visual metaphors, so distinctive, impress you. And then…The flawless way it’s all presented & structured inspires you.

I'm also a huge fan of her othe
Emily Caveye
How to be an Elephant by Katherine Roy
This could be used in a science class because it is about the life of an elephant
List some of the uses for an elephants trunk

2. Understanding
Describe how an elephant makes sound

3. Applying
Translate how exactly a baby elephant gets the nutrients it needs without having the teeth to do so
Baby elephants’ teeth are not yet developed to get all of the nutrients it needs to grow. So they often take food out of their mothers mouths once it has alre
Riley Thomas
The twin text that I would pair with this book is I Am Africa by Carl R. Sams.

These two books go hand-in-hand because they both talk about life in Africa for elephants (in How To Be An Elephant) and other animals (in I Am Africa). They both give a great glimpse into the landscape, environment, terrain, and requirements that animals need in order to survive there. I would start with the nonfiction selection and follow with I Am Africa. To connect the two books together, I would use a fun, early e
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Every bit as good as her previous book about sharks! Lovely, expressive paintings, excellent format & layout. Love how one section segues to the next. Great back matter! Just wish the double columns of text were spaced a little bit farther apart. Sure hope there is another animal topic on her drawing table! ...more
Natalie  Harvey
Love the format of this book. A different take on narrative nonfiction. Gorgeous illustrations. Be sure to read the author’s note at the end, too. Makes me want to quit my job and help save the elephants!
Kristi Starr
Written and illustrated by Katherine Roy, How to Be an Elephant follows a baby elephant from her birth as she begins to learn everything she needs to survive and thrive. Beautiful pictures of elephants grace the pages and a variety of insets supplement the textual information provided. Baby elephant - and we - learn about the social herds in which they travel; elephant anatomy, characteristics, and capabilities; and their role in their ecosystem.

I'm sure that many young readers will embrace ele
Outstanding text and gorgeous illustrations.
Dec 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I do love elephants. But I wish I didn't know that babies eat their mom's poo.
Wallis Chan
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elephant
Very informative and beautifully illustrated.
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pbnf-500
Excellent information about elephants accompanied by awesome watercolor paintings.
Stephanie Bange
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Roy has investigated all the things that baby elephants need to learn and why from their mothers in their first two years – showing and telling about each in this informational book. After the baby is born/dropped live, the newborn is up on her feet right away and walking. Readers learn about elephant families, accuracy of their sense of smell, uses of their trunk, how they communicate vocally, how they keep cool, and learn to chase away enemies. Kids will really get a kick out of elephant “baby ...more
Tracy Holland
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating facts about an elephant; from birth to grown elephant, the author shares information about birth, the structure of an elephant, and its basic survival instincts. There is a wealth of information int his book.
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such an amazing follow up to Neighborhood Sharks. The pictures are amazing and do a stellar job of showing some of what makes elephants such interesting animals and so worthy of our protection. This is my list of books kids are looking at to make their best Caldecott winner guess. I don't do a mock Seibert unit, but if I did, this would be my top contender. Great picture book for the family to enjoy together. It has substantial writing and for younger kid will need an adult to read along with th ...more
Read for Librarian Book Group
Very well done nonfiction text about elephants.  The drawings are beautiful and every kid will enjoy discovering what baby elephants eat.
Top Ten Sci-Tech Books for Youth 2017 (Booklist)
Jordan Roy
Summary: This book is about how to be an elephant. A great education book for all who are curious about elephants.

Classroom Integration:
This informational text would be great to use in a classroom regarding science. This text gives a great detail description of how to be an elephant. I could also see this text being used in upper grades on a project regarding elephants. A teacher could also use this text to highlight one key component of a elephant. For example their sense of smell etc.

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Katherine Roy is the award-winning author and illustrator of Neighborhood Sharks Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands and How to Be an Elephant Growing Up in the African Wild. She is also the illustrator of The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man's Canyon series by S. S. Taylor and of Buried Beneath Us by Anthony Aveni. She loves science, history, and big advent ...more

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