The Elephant

The Elephant


Written and illustrated by Jenni Desmond

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018

In this, Jenni Desmond’s third nonfiction children’s book about one of the large, endangered animals of Earth, we join a young boy as he learns about The Elephant. From Africa to Asia, the elephant makes its home. Light on their feet, despite their great weight, these magnificent creatures appear light and graceful because they’re always walking on their tip-toes. They have excellent hearing and can detect the rumblings of other elephants from six miles away. And, just like humans being right handed or left handed, elephants can be right tusked or left tusked!

The recipient of the 2016 New York Times Best Illustrated award for her book The Polar Bear, Desmond creates illustrations that are scientifically accurate, strikingly detailed, and beautifully rendered in collage, paint, and colored pencil.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-264-0
8.25" (W) x 10.63" (H) • 48 pages • HCJ

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A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2018
A 2018 EUREKA! Honor Award Winner
A The Children’s Book Review Best Non-Fiction Picture Book of 2018
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Gift Guide Selection of 2018
A CBC “Hot Off The Press” Selection of October 2018
A Capitol Choices Book of 2019
Selected for the 2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices List

★ "An affectionate and informative celebration of two magnificent species." —STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly

★ "Desmond's illustrations are show-stoppers ... A memorable introduction to a living wonder." —STARRED REVIEW, Booklist

★ "There are quite a few children's books about these magnificent, endangered mammals, and this one is among the best. The accessible text is supplemented by art that drives home such points as the differences between Asian and African elephants and the way an elephant foot's anatomy resembles a woman's (dark-skinned) leg in high heels. Perhaps the best example is the illustration highlighting the amazing reality of an older male bull's 100-pound, 8-foot-long tusk: The book's protagonist and a friend stretch out, foot-to-foot, along the tusk of a benign-appearing elephant, as the text states that the tusk is "the same length as two seven-year-old children toe to toe." And what fun seeing the boy atop the formidable pyramid of fruit that represents a bull elephant's diet of 700 pounds of plant matter a day! The protagonist is dark-skinned, as is his friend, and the appearance of only one white human face is refreshing, as is the matter-of-fact, nonpreachy tone used when discussing saving elephants from extinction. The text covers elephant territory, anatomy, behaviors, and more, ending with comparisons between sleep for elephants and sleep for humans—a perfect ending for a well-executed book. A must-have for anyone who loves elephants." —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews

★ "The mixed-media illustrations are both informative and beautifully executed, with varied motifs and an overall design that imparts complicated facts through clear and clean layouts. An introductory note describing modern threats to elephants sets the stage for learning to begin." —STARRED REVIEW, Betty Carter, The Horn Book

“A powerful and thoughtful story, [The Elephant] will undoubtedly prove to be an enlightening read. [Jenni Desmond] does it again! Her delicate, highly detailed illustrations are coupled with incredulous facts about these gracious animals.” —Sarah Yewman, Picture Books Blogger

“Everything you could ever hope to know about elephants pours forth between playful illustrations of both discovery and facts." —Jesica Sweedler DeHart, The Wandering Bookseller

“Throughout ‘The Elephant’, Desmond creates illustrations that are scientifically accurate, strikingly detailed, and beautifully rendered in collage, paint, and colored pencil. The result is an informative and entertaining picture book that is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 4 to 8.” —The Midwest Book Review

"...a superb work of narrative nonfiction." —Margie Myers-Culver, Librarian's Quest

"The collage, paint, and colored pencil artwork is stunning, rendering detailed, realistic elephants on every page, while keeping readers aware that this is a child’s journey; the boy shows up, cartoon-like, in spreads, sporting a red crown and, sometimes, a friend. … This superb volume is a wonderful way to connect reading, imagination, and nonfiction—nonfiction is great for dreamers, too, after all!" —Rosemary Kiladitis, Mom Read It

Accessible and beautifully-phrased paragraphs are packed with fascinating details about this mighty and graceful animal… As in the other books in the series, a red-crowned child helps to  showcase the elephant’s unique qualities, while also providing a touch of whimsy to the otherwise remarkably realistic art. […] But the heart of this book lies in its poignant exploration of the elephant’s social and emotional intelligence.” — Melissa LaSalle, What to Read to Your Kids

Not only is (The Elephant) impressively well researched and informative, but it manages to paint a breathtakingly compassionate portrait of the lives led by these highly intelligent and magnificent giants of the land, both with engaging storytelling and glorious illustrations…” —Picture This Book


The Blue Whale
The Polar Bear
The Smallest Elephant in the World (Coming Soon!)