#365PictureBooks Day 2 – Little Eliott, big city by Mike Curato


“What’s better than a cupcake? A friend to share it with!

The big city holds many new and challenging experiences for Little Elliot, the polka-dotted elephant. But Elliot is about to find out that life is full of sweet surprises that come in the smallest of packages.” [Back cover]

This picture book is delicious in many ways. Elliot is a character that young readers will be wishing would come to life or at least be available as a very tangible plush toy. From the gorgeous cover, the stunning cupcake covered end papers and the sweet, sweet story there are so many delectable aspects to this story about getting lost in the crowd and finding a friend. Elliot is small and different and life presents obstacles, but his resilience and perseverance is heartening – wonderful subtle messages for little people. I love how the story and illustrations are soft, subtle and not at all preachy – many children will identify easily with Elliot.

It is always lovely to find another picture book title to add to those used at the start of the school year in the younger levels in a primary school. Teachers often request books that discuss friendship, acceptance, uniqueness, identity, kindness, courage and many more virtues and feelings. In addition to encouraging good social skills in our students one of the PYP Trans-disciplinary themes students inquire into throughout the year is ‘Who we are’ and this can cover these concepts:

An inquiry into the nature of the self; beliefs and values; personal, physical, mental, social and spiritual health; human relationships including families, friends, communities, and cultures; rights and responsibilities; what it means to be human.

Elliot also reflects the PYP Learner Profile ‘Caring’ and Learner attitude ‘Co-operation’.

Bibliographic details:

Little Elliot, big city / story and pictures by Mike Curato.

Published in 2014 by Five Mile Press (part of the Bonnier Publishing Group). 32 pages


NZ RRP: $20.00

Available at Auckland Libraries

Publisher and other resources:

The Macmillan website has more information about this book including a downloadable PDF activity guide, links to the author website and more.

Lovely review of this title and a few others on the theme of friendship that would be wonderful for the start of school via the New York Times here.

There is a wonderful interview with Mike Curato on the Teach mentor texts blog here.

P.S. The author has announced that Elliot will be available as a plush soft toy in February 2015! Even better, this book is the first in a series with the next book Little Elliot, big family due out October 2015.

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