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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2007
The strong repetitive language and rhythm of the text is great for young children learning to read, or the very young learning to speak and understand that stories in books remain the same. This is a cummulative tale, where the list of characters chasing the elephant grows longer and longer as the book goes on, so it stimulates the memory and allows children to make predictions. It also teaches children a simple structure for stories and ends with a moral. A great book for pre-schoolers, I have been reading this at bedtime to my 10 month old son and we particularly enjoy bouncing up and down to the 'rumpeta, rumpeta's' and usually add in a few extra ones, just for the fun of it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I have read the reviews and can see merit in most of the comments made both positive and negative. The moral of the book is that children should learn to say please and to be polite. However, it is the elephant who does the stealing and if it so important that the "bad baby" says please, he should really have iterated this message at the start. Before getting into this, I would point out that many children's stories (from Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson up to more modern books like Where the Wild Things Are) are morally questionable from an adult's perspective.

Surely the key thing is that children like the stories. My 4 year old daughter absolutely loves this story; she always asks me to read it to her at bedtime in preference to all the other stories she has. My elder daughter (now 9) tells me that it was one of her favourites at that age as well although I personally have little recollection of reading it to her.

Writing a review from an adult perspective, I have to say that I love Raymond Briggs' illustrations. Rather than rush through the words, it is definitely worth taking time out to look at them in detail. We have a rather outsized and rather featureless elephant and a very small and again slightly featureless baby. The story is set against an urban backdrop with small and very neatly drawn buildings. The most attractive illustrations are the various shops, which are drawn with plenty of detail showing the shops' wares, customers (both adult and child), shopkeepers in their trade livery and the elephant cheekily stealing the foodstuffs with his trunk. On the odd numbered pages we see black and white illustrations of the shopkeepers angrily chasing the elephant and bad baby. I also love the slightly dreamlike ending as the child sleeps and the elephant and various shopkeepers fade into the distance. It does make me wonder whether the whole story is in fact the baby's own dream.

The book might work for your own children - I definitely think it worth a go.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Over 20 years ago I remember this being my favourite bedtime story.
A story that is not only fun but educates children the importance of being polite.
I have recently bought a copy for my mother so that she can read it to MY son as he grows up.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 15 December 2010
My eldest daughter aged 39 was given this book 38 years ago. It was an instant hit with her and her two younger sisters. We now read it to her twin daughters aged 2 and our other grandchildren and they ALL adore it. Simple language - if a bit dated now - who uses a pork butcher? - but it doesn't seem to matter, and the simple moral is remembered.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2011
I bought this book for my toddler grandson , who loves elephants. My own children loved the book & its appeal is still just as strong for the next generation. A brilliant book & it just might help the toddlers to remember "please".
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2005
This fun book will keep adults and children entralled time and time again. It has wonderful pictures and the story is so enchanting that you won't mind little ones insisting on it every night. The story has a nice little message but it doesn't hammer it home. Adorable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2008
I think this is a lovely book, the illustrations are beautiful and witty, and I've read it to my daughter since she was about 6 months old, but it's never really taken hold of her. She's never asked me to read it (she's 18 months old now, and demands a lot of books - not this one), and she will only sit through all of it at bed time. The only bit she really likes is where the bad baby falls off and loses his stash. The four stars is from the five I would give it, minus one because my daughter doesn't like it, and I guess her opinion counts. What I'm saying is, it's not a sure thing, despite the good reviews.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2012
This book was first enjoyed by my youngest son over twenty five years ago. Is now being enjoyed with a new copy from Amazon by young children who are in my care as Foster carers.

The repitition through the story of the antics involving the elephant and baby going from shop to shop is amusing. The children love to try and recall each charactor and shop.

This new copy is in board as the other one we had was in paperback and has been loved a bit too much over the years.
A good book to read with little ones over and over and over.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
My goodness, what a blast from the past. This book was my all-time favourite book. I remember reading with with my dad. Now, I'm a student teacher, and i recommend this book to parents and children everywhere, and i will certainly be reading it to my class.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2007
This book came up in a "customers who bought that book also bought this" list, so we took a chance and were absolutely delighted to have done so. This is the current best-loved story of my two-year-old and we read it at least once a day. Fortunately it is a delight so I can assure you that you won't object to reading it, even if it is the 500th time!

The story works at all levels: it is funny, it has a long list of characters which children love to reel out, it has lovely illustrations and it teaches the importance of saying please. We can thoroughly recommend it to any parent looking for a new favourite to entertain and amuse young children.
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