Title: Strictly No Elephants
Written By: Lisa Mantchev
Illustrated By: Taeeun Yoo
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, October 2015
Suitable For Ages: 3-8
Themes/Topics: pets, inclusion, friendship
Opening: The trouble with having a tiny elephant for a pet is that you never quite fit in.
Brief Synopsis: (from Goodreads) When the local Pet Club won’t admit a boy’s tiny pet elephant, he finds a solution—one that involves all kinds of unusual animals in this sweet and adorable picture book.
Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.
Imaginative and lyrical, this sweet story captures the magic of friendship and the joy of having a pet.
Why I Like This Book: This book is adorable. I loved the small lessons about friendship. A boy has a pet elephant who doesn’t like walking on cracks in the sidewalk. The boy helps him over the cracks because that’s what friends do. When they go to Pet Club, there is a sign saying “Strictly No Elephants.” As they walk away, the elephant doesn’t mind the cracks because his boy is sad, and friends are brave for each other when needed. The boy finds a girl with a pet skunk, and they decide to start their own club where everyone is welcome.
This book reminded me of The Berenstain Bears No Girls Allowed, which was one of my favorites from childhood. When I re-read that book recently, I was startled to find that it had some disturbing comments about gender roles. Strictly No Elephants is the inclusion book for a new generation. It has the same great message, and it also features a tree house, which was one of the main reasons I loved No Girls Allowed as a child.
On the blog last year…