Title: Elmer and the Rainbow
Author: David McKee
Illustrator: David McKee
Publisher: Anderson Press USA
Audience: 3-6 years
Summary: Elmer, the patchwork elephant, is the multicolored hero of a popular series of preschool books. In this story the jungle animals watch a fierce thunder storm and anticipate seeing a rainbow. Alas, the rainbow appears too early and has no color. Elmer with the help of his friends must find where the rainbow begins and then he will share his colors. How can Elmer give his colors to the rainbow and still keep them?” Will he be a colorless elephant now? Elmer finds the end of the rainbow behind a waterfall, shares his colors with the rainbow and emerges in his usual multicolored skin.“Some things you can give and give and not lose any. Things like happiness or love or my colors,” says Elmer
Literary elements at work in the story: This is a simple story, simply told-a problem, a search, and a happy ending. The brightly colored, full page illustrations complement the readable text. Rabbits are included among the jungle animals which may be more make believe than necessary.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? Elmer, it may be assumed is a male. Otherwise no gender is evident. The animals share the concern and the search equally.
Theological Conversation Partners: Learning to give is an important task in preschool life. Developmentally giving and sharing are almost identical. Giving is central in the life of faith: God so loved the world that He gave (Jn. 3: 16). The Macedonian Christians gave generously because first they gave themselves to the Lord. (2nd Cor. 8:5) “It is more blessed to give than to receive” are the words of Jesus quoted by Paul. (Acts 20:35) Jesus praises the poor widow who gives sacrificially. (Luke 21 (1-3) When Peter points out how much he and the disciples have given up to follow Jesus, Jesus assures him that he cannot outgive God.
Faith Talk Questions:
- In this make believe story the rainbow needed colors. Have you seen or known someone who needed something?
- Have you given to someone in need?
- Elmer says that there are some things you can give away without giving them up. What are some things like this? A smile? A compliment?
- Jesus says it is happier to give than to get. What are some ways that giving makes us happy?
Review prepared by regular contributor Virginia Thomas
Elmer and the Rainbow by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.