Decorating Children's Room With Elephant Posters
And the Cow Says "Moo"
It's a mystery why children prefer certain animals over others. Sometimes their affections are linked with the first animal they see in reality, but sometimes on the contrary. Often the vision of a real creature may be so different from the perceived animated version as to make the child change its mind about it. I remember the first time I saw a real cow - it was unfriendly, it didn't seem to be happy to see me at all, and there was this repelling matter of slobber. Elephants, however are very different. I first saw an elephant in a circus, and it made a lasting impression.
It's pretty clear why children love elephants: they're big, they possess roundish curving forms and their exaggerated ears make them funny and cute. The only "problem" with elephants is that they're gray - but this lack of coloration is easily overcome by artists, who simply make up pink, blue and green skins for these magnificent animals. Elephant's size, its being a herbivore and its slow, deliberate and confident demeanor makes it a perfect protector, a creature that embeds itself in the child's psyche as a noble and trustworthy companion. As in all animals, elephant's babies are twice as cute as grown specimens.
Having seen several elephants in various cartoons, I can think of Horton the Elephant, based on Dr. Zeuss' tale, as being the most famous and endearing of them all. Horton stood up to the entire jungle and saved Whoville despite grave danger. It's interesting that recent scientific discoveries suggest that elephants may have unusually high intelligence that allows them to empathize with other living beings. I once saw on a TV program how several elephants grieved the death of a calf who was born too small to reach for his mother's mammary gland and died of starvation :(. All the elephants (it happened in a zoo) approached the body and touched it with their trunks, as if expressing a common feeling of sorrow!