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"Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!"

Last updated Monday, January 12, 2015

Author: Patricia Thomas
Illustrator: Wallace Tripp
Date of Publication: 1990
ISBN: 0688093388
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jan. 2015

All the animals are in a panic. The elephant's sneeze would blow the monkeys out of the trees, the feathers off the birds, the stripes off the zebra. Even the fish and the fly, the crocodile and the kangaroo, know what a catastrophe that sneeze would be. "Please don't sneeze!" they beg. . . .

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Describe what it feels like when you sneeze.
•  Have your friends or family have shown you any methods for stopping sneezing or hiccups? Have the kids demonstrate.
•  What do you imagine would happen if your sneeze was as powerful as the elephant's?
•  Have you seen animals sneeze? Do you have a pet that sneezes?

•  hurricane - a strong, windy storm
•  whirling - turning rapidly in circles
•  tumbling - performing gymnastic feats of rolling and turning; turning end over end while falling
•  swirling - moving around or along with a whirling motion
•  prickle - a small sharp point or a sharp pointed part that sticks out (such as a thorn on a plant); a slight stinging or tingling sensation
•  astounding - capable of overwhelming with amazement; stunningly surprising
•  chortled - chuckled gleefully

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Why did the elephant's sneeze cause so much destruction among the other animals?
•  Has anything like that ever happened when you sneezed?
•  Which animal in the book was your favorite? Why?
•  Have you ever laughed so hard that you cried, like the elephant at the end? What was so funny? Tell us the story.

Craft ideas:
•  Make a folded paper elephant (see example): Take a piece of construction paper and fold in half, width-wise. Cut along the folded line. Take one of the halves and fold again, like you would a "card." Cut out the shape of the elephant on the folded card, making sure that the top of the elephant is the folded edge. To make the ears, use the other half of the construction paper. Fold the paper down about a third. Cut out the shape of the elephant's ears, making sure the "hook" of the ear is the folded edge. Make a small cut along the folded edge of the elephant's body and place the ears in the cut. Draw the elephant's eyes, mouth & toes. You can use different colors for the elephant's body & ears, or color the elephant.
•  Draw a picture of what would happen if an elephant sneezed in your classroom or home. What items would the force of the sneeze blow around?

*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!