Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hooray for Elephants and Friendship!

Elephants can be great friends! Here are some delightful, American picture books about friendship – all featuring elephants. Two of the books – “Little Elliot, Big City” and “Hooray for Hat!” – are from newcomers and one – “There is a Bird on Your Head!” – is from an author who is already a household name in America. Without further ado:

Little Elliot, Big City

“Little Elliot, Big City” by Mike Curato

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Age: 2-6+ years

Available in English only

This is one of the rare books that I ordered as it rolled off the presses in America. Published in August 2014, Mr. Curato's debut book took the children’s book world in America by storm. For our little family living in the suburbs of the big city of Tel Aviv, this book has lived up to all its good press. It delivers – and with sprinkles on top!

With gorgeous, realist illustrations that evoke the works of American painter Edward Hopper, Mr. Curato presents a slice of American life in 1940s era New York City. Polka-dotted Elliot the Elephant lives in his own flat, takes the subway, and walks through Central Park. He enjoys the simple pleasures of life: smelling flowers sprouting through the concrete sidewalks, collecting marbles and other tchotchkes, and, above all, eating cupcakes from the neighborhood bakery. Unfortunately, as a small elephant, he often has trouble getting noticed at the bakery’s counter. His luck changes when he befriends a small mouse who has an even bigger problem. Together, Elephant and Mouse navigate big city life, learn the value of friendship, and share one scrumptious cupcake.

The book’s message about friendship is timeless and the illustrations will charm any Tel Avivian / city dweller / lover of New York. As the book was just published last year, it is only available in English. However, as the word “cupcake” was just officially added to the Hebrew language, let’s hope that we will see it soon in Hebrew! The English version of the book can be easily ordered online and delivered to Israel.

Hooray for Hat!

“Hooray for Hat!” by Brian Won

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

Age: 2-4+ years

Available in English only

This brightly illustrated gem is one of the little guy’s and my husband’s all-time favorites. In Mr. Won’s 2014 debut work, a very grumpy Elephant and his equally grumpy pals, Zebra, Turtle, Owl, and Lion, cheer each other up and their friend, Giraffe, through sharing some very outrageous hats. The book is a lot of fun to read aloud and the illustrations are absolutely adorable. I was very fortunate to find this book in one of the major bookstore chains in Tel Aviv. If you do happen to find it in Israel, grab it! We have read it over and over and over again! It can also be ordered online and shipped to Israel.

There is a Bird on Your Head!

“There is a Bird on Your Head!” by Mo Willems

My Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Age: 2-5+ years

Available in English only

A former award-winning writer and illustrator for American Sesame Street, Mr. Willems is the author of many books that have captured the hearts – and, just as importantly, the humor – of American children. Mr. Willems’ “Elephant and Piggie” series follows the adventures of its namesakes in a sparse, comic book style. In this particular tale from the series, Piggie tries to explain to his perplexed buddy Elephant that some unwelcome visitors have come to roost on top of Elephant’s head. Although many of Mr. Willems’ books can be found in the major bookstores in Tel Aviv, I ordered this particular “Elephant and Piggie” book online.

Bilingual Resources

Children's books available in both English and Hebrew

Finding English language books in Israel for toddlers

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