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Ella the Elegant Elephant



Last updated Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Author: Carmela D'amico
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0439627923
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2006

Synopsis: A young elephant is new to town and anxious about starting school. On her first day, she wears her grandmother's fancy "good luck hat," causing a bully named Belinda and her friends to dub her "Ella the Ella-gant." When Belinda slips on the safety wall that surrounds the schoolyard and protects the students from a very big drop, Ella attempts a rescue only to slip and fall herself. Fortunately, the lucky hat acts as a parachute, transporting Ella and Belinda to safety. The next day, the entire class, bullies included, sports fancy hats, and a message on the chalkboard reads, "We love Ella." With its charming and whimsical cartoons and simple design, this offering seems like a picture book from an earlier era. Ella is a likable character, and children will be able to relate to her emotions.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever gone to a new school or moved to a new place? How did you feel?
•  Has anyone made fun of you before? What did you do? How did you feel?
•  Can you think of an adjective that describes you which sounds like your name, like Ella the Elegant Elephant?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why do the humans not know about Elephant Islands? Would you want to live there?
•  How does Ella feel about making new friends? What does she do to help herself feel better?
•  What makes Ella different from the other elephants on the first day of school? How would you feel if you were her?
•  Describe Belinda Blue. What does she do to Ella and what nickname does she give her? How do you feel about Belinda?
•  What happens when Ella helps Belinda?
•  How does Belinda change from when Ella first meets her to the end of the book?
•  How do the other elephants show that they love Ella afterall?
•  Good vocabulary words to discuss: fog, cozy, constructive, creaky, slumped, elegant, meekly, glared, and piped.

Craft ideas:
•  Draw an object that is special to you.
•  Create an ?elegant? hat out of construction paper. Bring ribbon, feathers, etc.
•  Using construction paper, cut out a headband for each student. Then brainstorm a list of good luck charms (four-leaf clover, rabbit's foot, horseshoe, etc.) and have students draw pictures to cut out and paste on their headband.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!