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Elmer: 30th Anniversary Edition: 1 (Elmer Picture Books)

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On leaving college he drew regularly for Punch, Reader’s Digest, and The Times Educational Supplement. Created by David McKee as a response to the intolerance he witnessed in daily life, Elmer the Elephant has been rejoicing in difference and enchanting the nation’s children for 30 years.

The grey elephants all love him, but he soon starts to wonder what it would be like to be just the same as them.

In 2020, David won the British Book Awards Illustrator of the Year Award and BookTrust’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

In this book children may begin to think of the value of friendship and family, identity and diversity, as well as being true to oneself. Yet, one day, Elmer starts to feel like the odd one out and so leaves the elephants to go off on his own. I was a painter as well and my paintings were squared up, a bit Paul Klee-ish, and one day I mixed the two," he says. First published in 1989, the books are written and illustrated by David McKee, the author of many classic picture books including Not Now Bernard and the winner of a Booktrust Lifetime Achievement Award.

Unfortunately, Elmer thinks that maybe the other elephants are laughing at him – for being different – instead of laughing with him – for being funny and loveable. After hatching a plan and rolling around in berry juice to make himself ‘elephant colour’ Elmer decides that being part of the crowd is too boring and realises that being different isn’t so bad after all.

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