Wednesday, January 17, 2007

21 Elephants and Still Standing

Someday, I'll think of creative titles for my reviews.

This won't be the week, however.

But stay awhile and maybe you'll want to read Twenty-One Elephants and Still Standing. It's the story of a very cool event that I never knew happened.

When the Brooklyn Bridge was built, many people were very nervous about its structure. They couldn't believe that a bridge that mammoth could possibly stay sturdy and strong. But along comes a true believer in the form of P.T. Barnum, who announces that his circus elephants will parade across the bridge.

Now, if you were suspicious about the strength of a bridge, what would you think about a parade of elephants marching across it? Wouldn't that be something you would want to see?

(Maybe not, but play along.)

Well, New Yorkers turned out in droves, and the elephants on parade paraded merrily along the bridge.

This would be a good read aloud for kindergarten students, but I would practice it several times to get a comfortable rhythm. Lines rhyme from time to time, while a page or two doesn't have a rhyme at all. If you're planning a trip to New York (or if you're a New Yorker yourself....I know you're out there because I look at my site meter), this would be a fun read for your family before your trip.

You may need to tell your audience about P.T. Barnum before reading the book. Someone without any knowledge of Barnum might not understand who he is and what a big deal he was in his day.

I love it when picture books of historical events include an author's note further explaining the event, especially if some facts were left out or slightly changed. April Jones Prince's author note is very satisfying.

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