Saturday, July 21, 2012


Elephants Can Paint Too!
Pictures and Text by Katya Arnold

Elephants fascinate me.  They are so large, yet seem so gentle.  They are gray and wrinkly, yet so cute.  I love to visit the elephants when we go to the zoo.  Last time we went, the zookeepers gave a little presentation about elephants. 

Did you know...

To tell the difference between African elephants and
Asian elephants, you look at their ears--African
elephants have large ears and Asian elephants
have small ears.

Elephants do not actually drink from their trunk.
 They just use it to slurp up water and squirt it in their mouth.

When we found Elephants Can Paint Too! at the library, I knew we had to get it--and we have enjoyed it even more than anticipated.  This book is full of amazing facts and information about elephants from and author and artist that works closely with them, a friend and trainer of elephants, Katya Arnold.

Read It
Elephants Can Paint Too! contains great photographs and text by Katya Arnold, that introduce a concept I had never heard of before--elephants painting!  Arnold obviously has a love for art and elephants.  She compares the world of human art students and elephant art students, using contrasts to teach.  Like, "I teach in two schools.  One is in the city. The other is in the jungle . . . Some of my students have hands.  Others have trunks . . . Some students eat grass.  Others eat peanut butter and jelly."  Since Arnold works so intimately with elephants, she also compliments the story text with lots of non-fiction text about elephants.  Working so intimately with elephants, Arnold offers more elephant information than your typical children's encyclopedia.  Here are some facts that I never knew before:
  • Elephants have 150,000 muscles in their trunks.  (Our entire body has only 639 muscles.)
  • Elephants suck their trunks like a baby sucks his thumb.
  • Young elephants like to play like children, and even misbehave sometimes.
  • Elephants use their trunk as a snorkel when they swim.
  • Elephants can paint too!
Enjoy It
I have read this book so many times and it still has not gotten old.  And everytime somebody comes to our house I show it to them.  I always enjoy learning about creatures of all types.  You know a book is a good book if kids and parents enjoy it just the same.  Big Stuff and Little Guy enjoyed all the unusual photogrpahs of the elephants--you get to see all the different ways elephants can hold a paintbrush, all the different paint tecniques they can learn, and how they interat with each other and their art teacher.  They also like the simple story-like text about painting.  The non-fiction text paired with it got a little long for my kiddos, but I am sure readers a little bit older would enjoy it as much as I did. 

Make It Come to Life
So with any book we have read lately we always try to find a way to involve water.
So we pretended that our squirt gun was a trunk.
It was a little hard to squirt in our mouth since it did
not bend like a trunk.

Then we walked like elephants.
We even tried to eat grass like elephants.

Look at the fun fingerplays we did next!
An Elephant
An elephant goes like this and that (swing arms to the left and the right).
He's terribly big (hands up high) and he's terribly fat (hands out wide).
He has no fingers (wiggle fingers) and he has no toes (touch toes),
But goodness gracious, what a nose! (make curling motion away from nose with hand)

The Elephant's Trunk
The elephant has a great big trunk, (use arm for a trunk)
That goes swinging, swinging so. (swing trunk)
He has tiny, tiny eyes that show him where to go. (point to eyes)
His huge, long ears go flapping up and down. (flop hands up and down by ears)
His great big feet go stomping, stomping on the ground. (stomp your feet)

We got these fun fingerplays from the story hour at our library.

Check out this fun video we found to see elephants painting in action!  Happy elephanting!

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