Saturday, 15 July 2017

Don’t think about Purple Elephants

Don’t think about Purple Elephants written by Susan Whelan, illustrated by Gwynneth Jones (EK Books) HB RRP $14.99
ISBN 978-1-925335-48-4

Reviewed by Elizabeth Vercoe

The title page of this delightful story features a tiny purple elephant sporting a fez, a handbag and twirling a hula hoop on its trunk. So begins Don’t think about Purple Elephants, an engaging picture book whose fundamental message is one of empowerment.

Sophie is a young girl who loves friends, school, riding her bike, baking cakes, reading books… but sometimes she worries. And these worries often visit at night, leaving her feeling tired and out of sorts the next day. So Mum comes up with a great idea:

‘I know,’ said Mum. ‘Go to bed, close your eyes and DON’T think about purple elephants. No cute little purple elephants, no big purple elephants at the circus. No purple elephants at all.’

And of course, the moment Sophie lies down she can’t help but imagine itty bitty purple elephants everywhere, and so snuggles into a purple-elephant-infused sleep.

Worry and anxiety are becoming more of a cultural fixture as society grows ever more complex, and this offering from Susan Whelan and Gwynneth Jones gives a delightful, practical means of easing the worries of bed time anxiety. It’s a bonus that the book is captivating and amusing.

I love Jones’ animated pictures which somehow manage to be both dreamy and full of detail at the same time. The combination of words and illustrations is seamless and wonderful. In the middle section, black and white illustrations are cleverly used to reference Sophie’s worry and anxiety, with splashes of colour defining the cause of her anxiety.

This is a helpful, engaging and highly recommended book.
Teacher’s notes are available and the book is also available in hardcover.




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