LONGLIST REVIEW: The Elephant's Umbrella

Elephant loves his umbrella and is only too happy to share this with anyone in need. One day, however, the wind whisks his umbrella away and passes it to the leopard. Although leopard is delighted, the umbrella doesn't like the sound of his plans and so chases the wind, who takes it to bear. Again, the umbrella does not like bear's intentions and fortunately, finds its way back to elephant who is delighted to be reunited with it. 

'The Elephant's Umbrella' is a simple story with a clear message about the importance of sharing what you have with others. Leopard and Bear both have selfish reasons for keeping the umbrella whereas the Elephant's pleasure in having it comes from the pleasure it gives him to share with others. It would make an excellent starting point for discussions about empathy and kindness, perhaps also extended to the idea of sharing shelter in wider terms with those in need. It could also be used to consider things from the umbrella's point of view- it wants to be shared and not used for selfish reasons. This idea could be explored in relation to natural resources, for example. 

Children could be encouraged to extend the story by writing of further encounters the umbrella might have with other animals and the reasons they might want to keep the umbrella before it makes its way back to Elephant. They could write in role as the umbrella, exploring its thoughts as it goes from one animal to the next. Children could dramatise the book and present it as a play to share with others. 

The illustrations are delightful- I love the coloured raindrops falling across the rainy-sky backgrounds, the vibrant colours of leopard and the layered leaves of the jungle. Much art work could come from sharing and enjoying the pictures.

The Elephant's Umbrella  by Laleh Jaffari, illustrated by Ali Khodai

Tiny Owl   ISBN: 978-1910328170