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Books for children who love elephants

Updated on January 29, 2016

The Babar stories were written by Jean de Brunhoff


Books for elephant lovers

Elephants are a very much loved animal. They have endeared themselves to many children. Here is a list of books which are suitable for young children who love elephants.

The Babar series by Jean de Brunhoff

No list of children's books which concern elephants could be complete without mentioning de Brunhoff's classic Babar series.

The first Babar books were written in the 1930s by Frenchman Jean de Brunhoff, the character of the King of the Elephants, Babar, drew immediate success. Later de Brunhoff's son, Laurent de Brunhoff continued authorship of the series.

The story concerns the orphan elephant Babar whose mother is fatally shot by a hunter. Babar escapes from the hunter and flees to a city where he is befriended by a wealthy woman referred to as the "Old Lady" in the books. Later, Babar is reunited with his elephant relatives, marries his cousin Celeste and is elected King of the Elephants when he returns to the wild.

A series of Babar books detail landmarks and adventures in Babar's life. They include his adventures while on an overseas holiday with Celeste, having children, his birthday celebrations and war with the rhinocerous nation. One book even includes Babar's adventures searching for Father Christmas, in order to invite Santa Claus to visit the elephant calves in the land of the elephants.

Babar has also been adapted into a children's film and cartoon series.

The Babar stories have been hugely successful, and thanks to various translations enjoyed by young children the world over.

However, the stories have been criticised by some as perpetuating a "colonial" attitude. However, many children will love them.

The Day of the Elephant

The Day of the Elephant by Barbara Ker Wilson and illustrated by Fran Lesacc

The Day of the Elephant is a simple picture book about an elephant called Mae Jabu.

However, it is a very serious book and a change to the whimsy of the Babar series. The Day of the Elephant is set in Thailand and follows children involved in the tragic 2004 tsunami. The book states that the story is based on a series of actual stories concerning elephants and the 2004 tsunami.

Although the subject matter is very serious, the book is suitable for young children. Basically, the story is about Mae Jabu, an elephant who anticipates the tsunami. The elephant spontaneously rescues a group of children by carrying them to higher ground when their village is swamped by the tsunami.

See the following link for more information about The Day of the Elephant:

This book is also suitable to discuss serious concepts, such as natural disasters with children.

The publishers state that proceeds from the book sales of The Day of the Elephant will be donated to a tsunami relief fund.

The Elmer Elephant series

The Elmer Elephant series are picture book stories written by Patrick McKee.

Elmer is a "patchwork" elephant. His skin is a series of different coloured squares, resembling a patchwork. Therefore, he stands out from the other, "normal" elements. The Elmer stories are fun and happy, and often demonstrate Elmer's kind and fun loving personlity.

For example in the story "Elmer and the Lost Teddy", Elmer goes in search of a teddy bear lost by a baby elephant calf. The story also features Elmer's elephant cousin, who happens to have ventriloquist skills. When the teddy bear is found, Elmer's cousin pretends the teddy bear can talk and tells Elmer about his adventures.

In "Elmer and the hippos", Elmer encourages the other elephants to help the local hippopotamus population. The hippos have lost their water supply. The elephants share their river with the hippos and also help the hippos repair their river by removing debris from a rockfall which is blocking the flow of their river.

The Elmer stories have also been turned into a children's television series. (Source: Wikipedia).

Can We Save the Tiger?

"Can We Save the Tiger" sounds like a funny title to have in a list about elephant themed books.

However, this book, written by Martin Jenkins,explores the topic of endangered animals in a way that young children can understand. Elephants are on the endangered list, and do feature in this book. Hence, this of course is the justification for featuring this book in a list for elephant lovers.

Illustrator Vicky White, has done a brilliant job capturing the images of animals, both those extinct and endangered. The pictures are likely to fascinate children and allow them to appreciate many of the animals featured in this book.

The book lists some of the animals that have become extinct. It also lists animals that are on the endangered species lists. It does not try to cover all animals. Instead, it covers a few animals, and looks at some of the reasons why they have become endangered. The book tells the story of a tiny snail which lives on an isolated island. It is now threatened by an introduced species of snail. It also looks at vultures, which are threatened because they have eaten carcasses contaminated by a particular chemical. The stories about each animal vary in length, but are generally well written and should be understandable for school age children.

The book also documents human efforts to save species, such as the intervention which has helped to recover bison herds.

A great book to add to any elephant, or animal lover's collection.


Dumbo, the story of the circus elephant with the big ears, has become a children's classic. The story is told in a Disney animated feature film, and also reproduced in numerous book versions.

Primarily, Dumbo feels isolated and different because of his enormous ears. His only friend is a little mouse. He appears in a circus act where he has to jump off a tower and is laughed at and feels humilated. At the end of the film Dumbo discovers that he can use his ears to fly and becomes famous.

Please feel free to contribute any other good elephant related books down below in the comments section.

Happy reading. Enjoy reading stories which feature these beautiful animals.


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    • profile image

      Phoebe Pike 

      6 years ago

      Adorable! I have a lot of Babar books because my son loves them. There is something very fascinating about elephants that a lot of children's storytellers love to write about.

    • Brainy Bunny profile image

      Brainy Bunny 

      6 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      What about The Saggy Baggy Elephant? That was one of my faves as a kid. Nice hub. Voted up!

    • hisandhers profile image


      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, Canada

      Aww this is such a cute Hub! I tried to think of other elephant books that I enjoyed when I was little that weren't mentioned here, but all I could think of was the "Bump the Elephant" cartoon that I always enjoyed watching as a kid. Elephants are great! Voted up!


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