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How to Catch An Elephant Hardcover – September 15, 1999

4.9 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Schwartz's (Old MacDonald Had a Farm) girl narrator, ardently in pursuit of a pachyderm, gives her audience some deceptively simple instructions for snaring one. The tools required for the catch, she explains, are few: three cakes, two raisins, one telescope and a pair of tweezers. Speaking breezily, the youngster then advises readers to "ask your Uncle Jack to bring you to the place where elephants go." Equally breezy unadorned gouache art depicts the girl carrying tiny tweezers and a large telescope as she follows her uncleAwho balances a boxed cake on his head while gripping two others in his handsAto just the right spot. With playful repetition and shrewdly kid-targeted visual humor, the author chronicles the capturing of a temperamental, brightly hued yellow pachyderm. To offer a hint at the outcome without giving it away, the fellow loves raisins but hates cakeAand becomes quite tiny when viewed through the wrong end of a telescope. Generous supplies of whimsy and understated humor turn out an engaging, outlandish how-to. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-K-A silly story that is sure to elicit giggles. After being given instructions by her Uncle Jack on just how to catch an elephant, a young girl eagerly sets out to complete this task. "Remember," says her uncle, "elephants are crazy about raisins.-And elephants hate cake." Besides those two strange bits of advice, she is also told to take a telescope and a pair of tweezers. Large, cartoonlike illustrations painted with warm oranges, yellows, and blues and placed on complementary-colored backgrounds are perfect for group sharing and perfectly suit this funny tale.
Rachel Fox, Port Washington Public Library, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: DK Children; 1st edition (September 15, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0789425793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0789425799
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.4 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #943,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I originally stumbled across this book at the library & it quickly became a favorite with the whole family.
The story is original & funny and appeals to both the kids & the grown ups.

We even did a participation of a pre-school class that really got the kids involved.

All the kids made "telescopes" out of paper towel tubes. Elephant ears were made out of a construction paper cut out ears stapled to a strip of construction paper to make a head band.
Duct tape wrapped around a rolled up news paper served as a tail, & the nose was simply our volunteer elephant's swinging arm.
The cakes were made out of different sized boxes decorated with paint, glitter, marker, etc. to look like cakes.
And, of course, there were raisins & a mini elephant toy.

We then read the story, having the kids participate by looking through their "telescopes' & stomping their feet like the elephant. We had a child picked to be the girl at the end & had a volunteer (the other teacher) be "the elephant".
At the end, all the kids wanted a chance to be the girl & especially, the elephant. This led to many days of rotating the characters.

We had the children make their own elephant ears & help decorate more "cake" boxes. We didn't eat the raisins from the story (ew, "floor raisins" that had been stomped on!), but used the left over raisins for snack as a nice tie in to the story.

I hope others can enjoy this book as much as we did!
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Format: Paperback
Overview: "Three cakes, 2 raisins, 1 telescope, and a pair of tweezers. That's what you need to catch an elephant." This is an amazing story of how a little girl catches an elephant with the items mentioned above!

Mommy Bookworm's Thoughts: This book is full of bright, vibrant illustrations, and is quite fun to read - especially if you act out the elephant's tantrums! Once again, there is a conflict online about what age group it's appropriate for. I believe that younger children (3-5) would enjoy it because of the illustrations & actions, but the actual reading level would be for older children (5-8). It's obviously just a fun book. There's not really a lesson to be learned by it (but that's okay because not all books have to have lessons)!!

Dahlia Bookworm's Thoughts: I liked the book, and it was funny because you needed weird things to catch an elephant. I liked the part where the girl made the elephant smaller & it stayed small. I can read it easily by myself. I would recommend it to kids my age and younger because it's a funny story.

Daisy Bookworm's Thoughts: I like the story because her uncle tells her that elephants go crazy about raisins & they hate cake. I like that the elephant only sucked up the raisins & then went wild because there were no more raisins. I like the pictures. I think it was a good story. It was funny because the elephant shrunk when she looked through the wrong side of the telescope. I would recommend this to kids my age & kids older & younger too.
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Format: Hardcover
How do you catch an elephant? Easy...all you need are three cakes, two raisins, one telescope and a pair of tweezers. This is a silly, funny book that will charm your pre-schoolers. The repetitive format makes for easy reading and younger children will be able to "help" you read. The illustrations are simple and colorful. An all around winner. You can't go wrong with this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a children's librarian at a small public library, and I used this book during my "silly stories" week. The repetitive structure and clear, colorful illustrations make this a good one for sharing with a group.
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Format: Hardcover
How to Catch An Elephant
This book contains instructions on how to catch an elephant. After collecting all your equipment, you must go ask your clever Uncle Jack for advice. He'll tell you that elephants are crazy about raisins but hate cake. And most importantly, don't forget your telescope! This lively and silly book about a little girl's adventure is filled with lots of story twists and sound effects that encourage dramatic reading, making it fun for kids and fathers (or uncles) alike to read together.
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Format: Hardcover
Catching an elephant is easy, if you have the right attitude. This is a great, silly story, with just the right amount of goofiness and the right amount of deadpan to leave kids giggling on the floor. Have some raisins and a telescope handy, because they'll probably want to try it for themselves!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is such fun to read with children as young as 3 years old. The repetitive nature of the story encourages participation of the young listener. The joy of the story is it's funny and ludicrous. I hope that this writer keeps on keeping on!
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Format: Paperback
I love this book! Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Stamp! Stamp! Stamp! I mean really?! Elephants love raisins and they hate cake!? Step by step instructions on how to catch an elephant are just down right funny, if not a little dangerous.
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