How To Be An Elephant by Katherine Roy

Publisher: David Macaulay Studio (September 19, 2017)
ISBN: 978-1626721784
Age Range: 7 – 11 years
Grade Level: 2 – 6
Starred Reviews: School Library Journal and Publishers Weekly
My Goodreads Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Summary and Thoughts:
This is a 48-page informative book about the African elephant is perfect for elementary aged children who would like to learn more about these beautiful creatures. Readers will follow the journey of the African Elephant from birth to adulthood. Roy introduces her audience to information about their anatomy and physiology, how they communicate, their habitat, and their diet. I appreciate how she alternates pages of long text with pages of short text, which may benefit the attention spans of younger readers. According to the note from the author, she went on location to Kenya to speak with field experts and on a 10-day safari to obtain first hand information for her book. Roy offers additional information and resources about elephants in the back of the book.

Elephants are my favorite animal, so when I saw this beautiful new book about them I had to check it out! I found Roy’s illustrations particularly amazing. I love how she uses bold lines, emulating the elephant’s wrinkly skin, in her illustrations.  You can really visualize the movement of the animals depicted in her impressionistic style. She chose a subtle earth-toned color palette to compliment her bold designs, which I also really found visually pleasing. I highly recommend this book!

Nonfiction Read-alikes and Recommendations:
Elephants Can Paint, Too! by Katya Arnold
Thirsty, Thirsty Elephants by Sandra Markle
Natumi Takes the Lead: the True Story of an Orphan Elephant Who Finds Family by Gerry Ellis with Amy Novesky
Discover the Continents: Africa by Emily Rose Oachs
National Geographic Kids: Safari by Gail Tuchman

Art Project Ideas: 
Love this idea of using a watercolor wash background with black silhouettes of elephants!  This image and idea is borrowed from:

Here is another great painting idea using oil pastels.  Borrowed from:

Screen Shot 2017-09-24 at 1.18.03 PM

Additional Resources about the African Elephant and the African Savannah:  

Here is a fun game for your kids to play with Wild Kratts on PBSKids where they will be able to learn more about the African Savannah:

Here is more information about African Elephants on the National Geographic Kids Website and this video from their YouTube Channel.


One thought on “How To Be An Elephant by Katherine Roy

  1. Hi Tara,
    What a thorough and enjoyable review. Your love of elephants and for this book really shines. I especially liked the watercolor wash background with the black elephant and tree silhouettes. I’m going to borrow it for my next elephant themed storytime. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s