Description (as given to me from the author):
Once upon a time, Ella, a baby elephant born in a zoo, was so cute that she was dressed in crowns, earrings, tutus, colorful shawls and fancy slippers. She got lots of attention. When she outgrew her baby costumes she was elegantly dressed for weddings and was still the center of attention. Yet as all creatures must do, Ella grew older. She grew tired of all the work it took to remain at the center of everyone's attention. After many years, Ella wanted to retire from the limelight. In this restful reserve, Ella was by herself for the first time, she looked at herself in the mirror, without makeup or fancy clothes. She saw an aging elephant with grey skin and wrinkles. Ella would find a new way to be happy. She would look in the mirror and realize that her kind heartedness and gentle and loving ways are what attracted people to her and made her the beloved elephant. Her life is filled with many wonderful memories which she will always treasure. These warm memories will serve her well as she enjoys the rest of her life.
Even though this book has almost a 5-star rating, and has won a Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, I don't know how it got there. The only way, in my opinion, this book got to such a high rating is from adults without the experience of reading bedtime stories to children, then they write the reviews. I honestly don't think children will like this book, and here's why.
I am a parent who has read her fair share of bedtime stories to my children. My first issue is with the title. 'The "PINK" Elephant'. On the cover the elephant is pink, but inside when the baby elephant is born, the elephant is 'not pink'. She is grey, just like every other elephant. Explain that to a child when they are expecting the elephant to be pink. I can imagine hearing the children asking "Why, Mommy or Daddy? She's pink here", (on the cover). The only time the elephant is pink is when they put make-up all over her.
The baby elephant becomes the center of attraction because she gets dressed up in pink clothing. She loves pink. Then they paint make-up all over her body to make her look pink, then she IS pink. (Okay, now the elephant IS pink?)
There are 3 sets of 2 pages each with long, lengthy paragraphs and no pictures to allow the children's imagination to soar. Children LOVE pictures in books. Without them, they are going to be bored.
The first set of double pages without pictures talks about Ella growing up into a grown-up Lady Elephant. A Wedding Planner was looking for an elephant for weddings. Kids will be asking what is a Wedding Planner? Imagine the children's questions about why an elephant would be at a wedding? There is one culture, India, that uses elephants in weddings, however this book does not explain this. Not all parents may even know that Indian weddings use elephants for the grooms to ride in on, so they may be at a loss to explain this to their children. (I never knew elephants were used in Indian weddings until when I was working I had to go out of town to a conference, and where the busses pick us up, they could not get in because of an Indian wedding. The wedding DID take precedence over the busses! "I" learned something that day!) I feel the author should have explained things much more thoroughly than what she did.
The second set of double pages with no pictures has big words that kids may not understand such as main attraction, glamorous, embroidered garments. The third set of double pages with no pictures has words such as bygone, exceptional, admirers, and others on both of these sets of pages that most likely are very difficult for children to understand
Ella starts to get tired and wants to take naps. She wants to 'retire'. Do kids know what 'retire' means? Unless they've had Grandparents who retire, then they know, but not all children have them, nor understand what 'retire' means.
I just don't think this book is a 'child friendly' (or even parent friendly at times). The story is sketchy in many places, and needs to be explained more thoroughly.
The illustrations in this book are drawn out in crayon, which would appeal to children, and the entire book seems like it has an Indian feel to it from the scrollwork at the top and bottom of every page.
A German author who lives in the United States now for what seems to be for a long time now wrote this book. I don't know if she took for granted that everyone knows that elephants are used in Indian weddings? That would be the hardest part of all to explain to children and to get them to understand it.
The book ends very abruptly. It did not include "The End", as the story did include in the beginning "Once Upon A Time", so I guess I was assuming I would see a "The End".
I could see if some changes were made to this book that it could do very well. One other thing I did not like about this book was the font that was used. The commas looked like periods, and at first it was difficult to read because I thought they were periods until I studied it more. Then I figured out they ARE commas.
Ella the Pink Elephant: Her Life, Love and Fame by Doris Rueger
Paperback only $9.13