Library Discovery: ‘What to Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot’

April 2013

by rebecca stewart

With children’s books galore to sift through and choose from for those precious moments of snuggle time as you and your kiddo get lost in the delight of a good book, we're here to help you find the most delightful books to add to your list. This time, we’re bringing you the sassy and fabulous What to Do If an Elephant Stands On Your Foot by Michelle Robinson.

Before we dive into why this book deserves to be brought into your reading rotation, a little…warning, if you will. Before settling in with your charming co-reader, you’ll want to give this delightful book a read on your own. In order to really do this book justice you’ll need to get the tone just right, and while some books make it easy to improvise as you go, this book practically begs you to sell it just so to your young reader. I’m not gonna lie, the first time we read What to Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot we immediately had to do a second reading – a do-over – so that I could get it right.

Fully intrigued now? What to Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot is a great read for any young reader – boy or girl. The story is told from the perspective of the advice-giver or safari guide, coaching the young adventurer in safari etiquette through a variety of mishaps. Naturally, the story begins with an elephant standing squarely on our young hero’s foot and our guide advising him to keep calm, as panicking will only startle it…Well, really it’s only fair to expect a little panic in such a situation. So our kind narrator is quick to move on to the next, advising our adventurer along each step of the way as he encounters tigers, rhinos, snakes, crocodiles, and finally (thankfully) some very helpful and friendly monkeys. As our young and unlucky hero progresses, our safari guide remains very even and calm right up until the advice to “sit tight and try not to make any sudden movements,” causes our guide to momentarily lose his cool, “Like that one. You ninny!” Odds are, your young reader will pipe up at this point with a gasp as he/she pinpoints the name calling.

Our safari guide nearly gives up on our hapless hero, but gets drawn back in with some delightful manners. Enter the monkeys, which your kiddo is sure to love as our adventurer is encouraged to “Go Nuts! Jump up and down…Sing and shout and dance and swing! Have a banana!” My kiddo always gets the giggles here. Eventually our young adventurer returns safely home, only for the whole darn thing to start again. Clearly safari etiquette can be as tricky as the book claims.

Again, give this book a solo read-through first to familiarize yourself with the flow and tone of the book. I like to keep things pretty matter-of-fact so the bursts of exasperation are more comical and occasional sighs of frustration are a must. What to Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot is definitely one to snag from the library, as it will captivate your crew of young readers with its silly story and engaging illustrations.

About the book: What to Do If an Elephant Stands on Your Foot Written by Michelle Robinson Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds Copyright 2012 Published by Dial Books of Penguin Young Readers Group ISBN-10: 9780803733985 ISBN-13: 978-0803733985 Hardcover 32 pages Share your favorite children’s book discoveries with Simply Becca in the comments section below or on Facebook: Parenting & Kid Talk with Simply Becca, on Twitter @LovingAbigail, and on Pinterest.

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