Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Memory of an Elephant by Sophie Strady

31 Oct

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because it is a very cool and somewhat odd book. 😉

thememoryofelephantThe Memory of an Elephant: An Unforgettable Journey
by Sophie Strady

Illustrated by Jean-Francois Martin

38 pages – ages 5+
Published by Chronicle Books on September 9, 2014

Theme/Topic- Elephants/memories

Genre- Fiction

Opening and Synopsis-
Opening –  “Marcel is an elephant – a very old elephant. Like all elephants, his skin is gray and wrinkled, so it is difficult to tell his exact age.

Synopsis – (publisher’s description) Memory and meaning are at the heart of this oversized, content-rich picture book celebrating the life of Marcel, a soulful elephant. From the towering buildings outside his window and his recollected world travels, to the friends, flora, and fauna that flourish around him, Marcel finds significance in his surroundings and, most importantly, in life’s abundant details. Marcel is writing an encyclopedia, after all, and his entries are featured in full-page spreads packed with facts, elegantly situated alongside the story of his day and his life. Part story and part miscellany, this unforgettable book with dream-like illustrations will transfix both parents and children.

Why I liked this book- This book is very unique. I had a hard time thinking of the theme and genre – it’s a pretty odd book (but I like odd 😉 ). Even the size of the book is odd – it’s a large 10×14 – but Marcel is a very large elephant so I guess that makes sense. There is a fictional story in the book – the story of Marcel and his memories, but there is also a ton of facts about everything you can think of (Marcel is writing an encyclopedia). Take a look at what I mean:

memoryeleph1The illustrations are incredible. I love the detail in them (check out Marcel’s tattoo 😉 ) and the old-fashioned feel.

memoryeleph2The story of Marcel is nice. He thinks about his life and the things in it and what he’s experienced. We get to meet some of his friends. It’s a nice story by itself but when you put it together with the awesome illustrations and all the fact information packed into the book, I think the book is just super cool. The publisher rates the book for kids 5+. Kids that young probably wouldn’t be able to read the book independently, but this book would make an awesome read aloud. It is the kind of picture book I would have loved when I was little. I always loved books with lots of fact boxes and tons of stuff I could look at. This isn’t a “normal” picture book, but if you are looking for something a little unique – I recommend this one!

Activities and Resources-
I didn’t have to go far for activities. There is a bunch right in the back of the book. There are 2 pages of information on Marcel’s friends who happen to be endangered species. You can use the thumbnail pictures as a look and find in the book for all the endangered animals. There is an “encyclopedia” section on Marcel’s favorite foods, and his furniture. There is also a recipe for “La Crèpe Marcelette” (which I need to try)!

The International Fund for Animal Welfare has a bunch of lesson plans, videos and information in a section called “Elephants, Never Forget.” Click HERE to go to it.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

18 Responses to “Perfect Picture Book Friday! The Memory of an Elephant by Sophie Strady”

  1. jama October 31, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    Love this book and love elephants. Hope to review it soon. Glad to hear you liked this “odd” book :).

    Like

  2. julie rowan zoch October 31, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    Lucky! Can hardly wait to read this!

    Like

  3. Genevieve Petrillo October 31, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    Marcel sounds like a smart smarty pants. Now I want to copy him and write my own encyclopedia.

    Love and licks,
    Cupcake

    Like

  4. Joanna October 31, 2014 at 8:53 am #

    I LOVE that opening line and the content of the book sounds so clever. I can think of MANY kids who would love this.

    Like

  5. Christie Allred October 31, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    I think I would have enjoyed this book as a child too. The tattooed elephant illustration might have reminded me of my awesome grandpa who was a fighter pilot in WWII, haha!

    Like

  6. Catherine Johnson October 31, 2014 at 1:32 pm #

    I love odd too and Matthew loves factual books. Must get this!

    Like

  7. macjam47 October 31, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    This is a great book. I especially love the illustrations in it. This was a good choice of book to review, and you did a great job.

    Like

  8. readingwithrhythm November 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    What a uniquely excellent book! Thanks Erik!

    Like

  9. writersideup November 2, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

    There goes that Chronicle Books again, with another fresh, clever, imaginative book again! 😀 Thanks for the terrific review, Erik 🙂

    Like

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