Review: The Elephant That Ate the Night

BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations

Book Title: The Elephant That Ate the Night (available here)

Author: Bing Bai

Illustrator: Yuanyuan Shen

Publisher: Everything with words

Publication Date: November 2018

Most Suitable for: KS1

Reviewed By: Mr J Cadman (@mrcadders), KS2 Teacher

This picture book faces the age-old villain of children’s stories that hides under your bed, peeks out from the cupboard under the stairs and skulks between the trunks of a fairy-tale wood… the dark!

Originally written in Chinese, this translation of The Elephant That Ate the Night has appealing illustrations that beautifully accompany a simple heart-warming story: the nights of the Dark Mushroom Forest strike fear into the hearts of woodland’s youngsters, who dread what lurks in the gloom. However, they don’t have to worry for long, for an extremely hungry elephant comes to the rescue, slurping the darkness up for a midnight snack. But without the night-time, are the woodland creatures really free of their worries?

The careful use of colour in this book thoughtfully reveals the mood of each scene. There is plenty to captivate the imaginations of young children in the detailed worlds on each page. Developing readers will also be engaged by the use of different typography to highlight particular moments in the story, providing plenty of opportunities for varied expression and emphasis.

The story shows children how the dark may not be the enemy they once thought it was, by exploring what a life without the night might be like. Themes such as fear, friendship, difference and family relationships are also touched upon as the woodland creatures work together to soothe each other’s fear of the dark.

I imagine this story being read aloud at bed-time, creating wonderful moments where children can relate to the characters' feelings and perhaps give them the tools to tackle fears of their own -with the help of a very hungry elephant!


You can order The Elephant the Ate the Night online or from your local bookshop or library.

Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Mr J Cadman for reviewing it.


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