There is nothing like snuggling with a little one and reading a good book! It's the best. Every night before bed one of us reads books with Laura, and last night we read one of my favorites, "But No Elephants, " by Jerry Smath. This book just warms my heart- not only because it was one of my favorites as a child, but because our copy is the very same one that I had. It's still in great condition and I love to think about my own little chubby hands turning the pages and listening to my my mom read it to me again and again.
The story is about a little old lady who lives all alone and is trying to get ready for the upcoming winter. A pet man comes along and sells her various animals, each of which become a great friend and help her in one way or another to prepare for the oncoming cold. She buys a canary who sings to her, a beaver who cuts the wood, a wood pecker who fixes her roof, a turtle who carries her on his back when she is tired. Each time the pet man sells her a new animal she proclaims with passion, "But No Elephants!"
Finally the pet man comes to sell her with his last pet left and of course it is the elephant. Grandma once again refuses him. What would she do with an elephant after all?
The pet man must have decided he didn't want an elephant either because he ditches the poor animal right in front of Grandma's house. Then winter begins and it snows and snows and snows and they can all hear the elephant crying. Grandma feels bad and her heart is softened-- so she lets him in. ....
This of course causes all sorts of problems! He falls through the floor and gets stuck and then he eats all the food. Grandma says, "What will we do? We cannot leave or we will freeze. We cannot stay or we will starve!" The elephant feels terrible for what he's done and he wants to help, so he stands up and starts to walk (imagine a little house with elephant legs sticking out of it). And he walks and walks and walks until they get to a warm sunny place!
The book ends with a very groovy looking grandma serving fruity drinks to a bunch of elephants out side of her new sunny warm home hosting a sign that says, "Welcome Elephants!"
Every winter when the dark and dreary cold sucks the life out of me I dream that a elephant in shining armor would just pick up my house and walk me someplace sunny. Grandma sure had it good!
I love that I can pass on this sweet book to my kids. I will make sure they each have their own copy for when they get to sit down with their own chubby-fingered babes.