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Elmer in the Snow - David McKee

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5 Reviews

Genre: Junior Books / Author: David McKee / Edition: New Ed / Paperback / 32 Pages / Book is published 1997-10-02 by Red Fox

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    5 Reviews
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      03.02.2013 00:58
      Very helpful



      A modern classic with lovely colourful pictures and a satisfying and engaging story for 2-6s

      My son was given "Elmer in the Snow" by Father Christmas last year, and he instantly loved it. Elmer is an instantly recognisable character - colourful in both appearance and personality.

      In this story, the elephants are cold so Elmer suggests a long walk up the hill, which leads them to have lots of fun in the snow and ice even playing a trick on them with a snow-Elmer! When they get back home they realise it isn't so cold there after all.

      The story is very engaging for young children, although quite wordy with pages having between two and nine lines of text, and the book has 12 double pages, so best for children who can concentrate a little. It says on the back for 2-5s, and my 2, 4 and 6 year olds all like it, but it is most suited to reading to my 4 year old. My youngest prefers the "edited" version to be read to her :-)

      The story itself is very well-written and engaging for children. It develops well, and they particularly enjoy the elephants' antics in the snow, and the fact that Elmer and the others play about just like children do! Cheeky Elmer tricks the others and then throws snowballs at them, and this is my son's favourite page by far.
      The illustrations are nice - lots of snowy scenes with the grey elephants an, of course, the unmistakable patchwork of Elmer himself. The story is thought-provoking for children in an educational way too - themes of hot and cold, weather, snow and ice.

      Overall, this book is a lovely read, and great to share with youngsters of around 2-6.


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      23.01.2012 11:18
      Very helpful



      We haven't found a bad Elmer book yet

      A month or so ago my daughter had been really well behaved when we were out shopping so I told her she could choose a book as a reward, she choose this book which we found in Tesco but you can find in good bookshops and on many internet sites such as Amazon. The book retails at £5.99 although it sells at £4.49 on Amazon at the moment.

      The book is written by David Mckee who whilst at college used to produce a cartoon strip and started writing and illustrating his own books in 1964, he also illustrated Paddington Bear.

      The front cover of the book shows Elmer the patchwork elelphant up on one leg in the snow, the title is written in white lettering on a blue snowy background so stands out really well and the author/illustrators name is written in purple across the bottom. The picture of the elephant is glossy as is the title of the book and it really catches the light and gives off a shine which I found a nice touch which you don't usually find.

      The story follows Elmer the patchwork elephant who comes across a group of elephants who are complaining that it is too cold. Elmer manages to convince the elephants that they need to go walking to warm themselves up, the elephants go trekking up a mountain and begin to feel much warmer when they come to a load of snow which although the elephants know what snow is they haven't actually seen it. The elephants have fun playing in the snow and sliding around on a frozen pond so they don't notice Elmer sneaking away from the group. Elmer makes a snow elephant and uses it to lure the other elephants making them believe he has frozen solid and then starts a snowball fight. The elephants have great fun and then return down the mountain and suddenly feel their normal habitat is warm!

      As with all the Elmer books the pictures are great, they are bright and bold, the pictures have enough detail to show the story but not too much detail that there is too much for a little one to take in. The book is aimed for ages 2-5 which I think is about the right age although my one year old was showing some interest in it too.

      My daughter loves this book and enjoys naming all the colours on Elmer and thinks it funny when Elmer throws snowballs at the others, the book triggered a memory in her from when she was 2 and her Dad and Auntie had a snowball fight in the street. I love the simplicity of this story and the fact it has a message that there are other parts of the world which are colder or hotter than where we are. The only thing I don't like about the book is the elephants sliding on the frozen pond as we have a pond near to us which obviously would be dangerous to slide across incase it went threw. We enjoy reading the Elmer books and we look out for new ones in the library so I would certainly recommend this book and others in the Elmer series as would my daughter.


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        04.10.2009 12:23
        Very helpful



        See review.

        My son is at an age where his reading tastes are changing by the day, no longer is he drawn to the generic boys books, these I would deem as the ones featuring fire engines and Thomas the tank engine (thankfully!), but is more interested in the story itself.

        After a recent trip to the library, my son spotted the book I will now review as was drawn to it for the simple reason, that it contained a character that his nursery teachers encouraged the children to read about.

        The book I will now review is - "Elmer in the snow by David McKee"

        For any of you who are unfamiliar with Elmer, he is, in a nutshell, an elephant that has patchwork skin. This fact makes him a very colourful elephant, and of course completely different from the rest of the elephants.
        These books were brought to my attention at my sons nursery. This particular character and books featuring him were of obvious interest to the nursery children, and the books were part of their "curriculum", terrible isn't it when a child of 3 years old is still being evaluated on their learning!

        The synopsis of this story is -

        Elmer comes across of his elephant friends and they all seem very down, after asking them what is wrong he discovers they don't like the fact that it is colder than usual.
        Deciding to show the elephants what "cold" actually is, Elmer and his friends take a hike into the mountains.
        Along the way the text describes the ever changing landscapes, with every statement encouraging the child to hazard a guess at what could be on the next page, and of course where they are all heading.

        After a good hike Elmer gets the elephants to what he wants them to experience.....snow! Never before have the elephants seen snow, only hearing talk about it, the book continues on with much snow play until the time comes for them to leave and go back down the mountain.

        The moral of this particular story being that whatever is happening to you, there is always a situation that could be much worse, in this case the situation being the fact that the elephants didn't really know what cold was until they got to the snow, realising this fact the elephants are grateful of the warmth they actually have, and had originally!

        This is a lovely little book that my son thoroughly enjoyed, this is not what I would deem as a starter reader book, being far too involved for that, but more a bedtime book as I call them, something for me to share with Connor.

        The pictures are vivid and colourful, but not so colourful that it detracts from Elmer, who in every picture is the most colourful character there.
        Of all the Elmer books we have read, there seems to be a moral to be had from it, albeit subtle to the child.

        The book is around 15 pages long, but only has a few sentences of text on each page, this makes it a reasonably good book for bedtime, not too short, my son feels short changed if he has a small story! And not too long, these annoy me, I love reading to my kids at bedtimes, and has always done so, but I do have a life (albeit not much!) outside of the kid thing, so spending three hours reading to my babies is not an option!

        Pricewise this book retails at £3.99, this is exceptional value for the quality of the book, I am more than sure that this is available for pennies on www.amazon.co.uk

        Thanks for reading x

        ISBN 0-86264-912-9


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          16.02.2008 12:42
          Very helpful



          One of the Elmer books

          Elmer in the snow

          Another story about the well known and well loved patchwork elephant, Elmer.

          ~~Story and Illustrations~~

          Elmer is wandering amongst his friends who look quite unhappy, and when he questions them as to why they are sad they say it's because they are cold. With this cold spell of weather we are having right now, children are keen to talk about whether they like to be cold or not. Elmer suggests the elephants just need a walk and we see them taking a walk through the colourful and very warm looking jungle. They are soon warm but Elmer makes them keep walking. They notice that the trees are different, as do children, who realise that they are looking at fir trees.

          At last they come to the snowy part and the elephants are delighted! They decide that it's "cold but fun". The picture really shows them having a good time, frolicking and rolling in the snow. Elmer shows them how to skate on the ice- this is one part of the book I don't really like because of the dangers of frozen lakes, and sometimes, if I can get away with it, I tell the story by using the pictures and not a frozen lake in sight! The elephants look as though they are really having fun sliding about the ice and it's something I don't want to be seen to be encouraging!

          The elephants forget about Elmer until they hear his voice, shouting that he has been frozen solid (obviously not his mouth!) The elephants rush to Elmer and there he stands- a snow elephant! However, when they touch the elephant, they realise that Elmer has played a trick on them, and begin to follow his footsteps; great fun is had by all when they have a snow ball fight.

          Eventually, it begins to snow quite hard and they decide it's time to go home. The elephants decide that snow is fun, but it's good to be warm again- and yes, the whole colour scheme has changed from cold greys and blues to all warm reds pinks and orange.

          All of the pages are double page spreads with the text being written somewhere in the corner, either top or bottom. Because the pictures are bright and busy, it's easy to use the pictures to tell your own story. Apart from the lake bit, I like to do this sometimes, and rather than tell the story, let the children talk about what is happening in the picture; there is usually sufficient detail for them to do this confidently even if they have never heard the story before. The illustrations do show the elephants having a lot of fun, and children like to talk about the games they play in the snow. Those children who have "met" Elmer before will expect him to play a joke on the others and usually guess that the frozen elephant isn't really Elmer.

          ~~Other bits of information~~

          ISBN: 0-86264-615-4

          Publisher: Anderson Press, 1995

          ~~Other Elmer Books~~

          There are lots of Elmer books, and we are almost getting to the stage where there is one for every occasion. Some of the Elmer books include:

          Elmer Again
          Elmer on Stilts
          Elmer and Wilbur
          Elmer's day
          Elmer's Friends
          Elmer's Colours
          Elmer's Bath


          A popular book with children in key Stage 1 and lower key Stage 2. The text is quite simple so children who are starting to read and have heard the story before can have a real go at "reading" the story, and so gaining in confidence.

          The illustrations are jolly and colourful and show the elephants having a really good time. The whole book shows the elephants playing in the snow, which children usually love, and because they will usually have had some experience of snow play, it will generate discussion.

          A good book to read on cold and snowy books. Lots of discussion, lots of questions and a fun book which children will enjoy.

          Thanks for reading.

          Daniela x


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            21.01.2008 18:01
            Very helpful



            Another great book from David McKee


            Most of you will know by now that we're big fans of Elmer in our household and have read most of David McKee's series of books about this colourful patchwork elephant. I have managed to write quite a few different reviews on here about this lovely character. There is the odd occasion though when we come across a different one in the library and this is what happened here.

            ***The Story***

            The elephants in the jungle are a bit cold today so when Elmer suggests that they go for a walk to warm themselves up, they all agree that it's an excellent idea.

            They soon get very high up and the elephants are amazed to see snow. They haven't seen it before but have heard about it and all agree that although it's very cold, it's also great fun.

            Elmer shows them an icy pond and it's not long before they are all slipping on it. They don't notice Elmer has sneaked away until they suddenly hear him shouting for help. He says he has frozen solid and when they all rush to find him they see a white elephant in snow.

            They are all worried until one elephant touches it and realises that it is made of snow. They follow the footprints in the snow and finally find Elmer hiding behind a big pile of snow, waiting to throw snowballs at them all. They all start to have a snowball fight and have lots of fun.

            When it starts to snow again they all agree that they should head for home and they all agree that even though snow is good fun, it's nice to be back in the warmth of the jungle again.

            ***The Illustrations***

            As with all the Elmer books this one is bright and colourful although it is quite unusual to see so much white in the background at the snowy scenes. One thing that does still feature throughout is the little blue birds that follow Elmer and his chums through the jungle.

            ***My Thoughts***

            All kids love playing in the snow so this book is bound to be a favourite with little ones who love to make snowmen and have snowball fights, especially if like my son, you are in an area that gets very little snow and even when the weathermen promise it's on its way, not a single flake appears.

            Elmer is one of my favourite storybook characters. He is always on the lookout for fun but also likes to share new experiences with his friends. He has a mischievous personality but it is never malicious.

            I'm not sure what it is that makes the character so popular, although I know that elephants are very attractive to a lot of people. Maybe it's just because it's nice to see that someone who is different from those around him, can be accepted in such an easy way. I think the idea that at the end of the day, he is just an elephant, is a great way of showing children how to accept people who aren't quite the same as themselves.

            This story is a great one to read, as it is simple and funny throughout. It doesn't really have a moral in this one, unlike some of the other Elmer stories, but I suppose it does show how friends can have fun together and that is what is important for children.

            The illustrations are lovely, as always, and you really notice the contrasts between the bright colours of the jungle and the snowy mountaintops. Even the sky shows the warmth in the jungle scenes with its orange sunsets, whereas the snowy scenes show a greyer sky, which makes you imagine how cold it must be.

            The bluebirds are a great favourite with my son who loves to find and count them all on each page. The good thing is that the number varies on each page so spotting them all can be quite tricky sometimes.

            I'm sure I'm going to be reviewing another Elmer book at some point in the future, as this character is certainly going to stay popular in my house for quite some time.

            ***Other Elmer Books***

            Elmer Again
            Elmer and Snake
            Elmer and the Hippos
            Elmer On Stilts
            Elmer and the Stranger
            Elmer's Hide and Seek
            Elmer and the Wind
            Elmer and Butterfly
            Elmer and Rose
            Elmer and Wilbur
            Elmer and Grandpa Eldo
            Look! There's Elmer
            Elmer and Aunt Zelda
            Elmer and the Lost Teddy

            ***Price & Availability***

            This paperback is available for the purchasing price of £4.99 but is available from WH Smith for only £3.99.

            ISBN No. 0099721317


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          • Product Details

            In this sixth story featuring Elmer, the pleasure-seeking patchwork elephant, he swops the steamy jungle for somewhere chilly.

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