Elmer the Patchwork Elephant
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Book cover for Elmer the Patchwork Elephant
|No. of books||39 (List of books)|
Elmer was first published by Dobson Books in 1968, and re-issued with re-drawn illustrations in a slightly shortened version by Andersen Press in 1989. The books are published in the United Kingdom by Andersen Press and were published in the United States by Harper Collins originally, Andersen press USA now publishes in America. Thirty-nine book titles have been created since 1989, and the series has sold over eight million copies in fifty languages around the world. Satoshi Kitamura carried out the Japanese translation.
The stories are suitable for early exploration of the themes and issues relating to the concept of diversity. One day, Elmer decides that he wants to look like all the other elephants, and paints himself grey in order to 'blend in'. Once painted, they - and the other jungle creatures - no longer recognise him. He returns to the herd and the other elephants stand quietly until Elmer can't take the quiet anymore and he lifts his trunk and then, at the top of his voice, shouting "Boo!", which unknowingly surprises the other elephants. The other elephants immediately realise that the grey elephant must be Elmer and applaud him for his best joke ever. When it begins to rain, the grey paint that Elmer has covered himself with starts to disappear, and Elmer's "true colours" are revealed, much to the delight of his friends, who preferred his multicoloured and fun loving personality. Following their happy reunion, the elephants reassure Elmer that they love him because of his differences, and not in spite of them, and they celebrate by painting themselves in multi-coloured paint (and Elmer paints himself gray), in recognition of Elmer's unique appearance and personality.
The character has been turned into a children's television series, consisting of 41 15-minute episodes with David Holt playing Elmer, Maria Darling as the Narrator, Jane Horrocks as Wilbur, Elmer's black-and-white cousin, and with an all-star cast playing other characters including Grandpa Eldo. It also features in a wide range of merchandising. His first story is also featured and animated in Anytime Tales, a storytelling animated programme narrating 5 of David McKee and Tony Ross' stories. The story of Elmer was originally narrated by Johnny Morris, who died on 6 May 1999, aged 82. However, in Easter 2019, Peel P50 took over this role and so, he will star in every last Elmer book there is, including Elmer On Stilts.
A musical stage version created by Jonathan Rockefeller was adapted by Suzanne Maynard Miller with songs by Allison Leyton-Brown. After an initial engagement in Toronto (December 2017), Elmer the Patchwork Elephant show embarked upon a tour of the UK January 2019.
- "Elmer Day". www.andersenpress.co.uk. Andersen Press. Archived from the original on 1 May 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
- "Elmer the Patchwork Elephant celebrated in libraries". www.suffolklibraries.co.uk. Suffolk Libraries. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.