Paper plate elephants

Paper plate elephants

We were recently asked to review a book called The Story of the Elephant. The book isn’t the sort of book that would ever usually cross my radar to read with the children but I was intrigued to take a look.

The book itself is beautiful and tells a story from the Qur’an and isn’t a story that I am familiar with myself. It is a stunningly illustrated book, packed to the brim with colourful pages and pop ups.

I find religion endlessly fascinating. When I was at school RE lessons were a chore – I remember my classes took place on the last lesson of a Friday and it was just so tedious. The teacher didn’t do anything to engage his students and I really can’t recall learning much about the world religions at all. Since leaving school and studying for my degree I opted to study a module that looked at religion and I found it totally absorbing, and for a time considered taking a Master’s course that focussed on religion. Children put paid to that, but I am sure that in the future I will read more about the different world religions.

I myself am not religious, but I find it extraordinary that religion has endured, and continues to. I want Daniel and Emma to understand the religious traditions that have such impact on our lives (even in terms of the basic calendar of Christian festivals) and have an understanding of other religions. Living in Manchester means that we have such wonderful access to the Jewish Museum as well as the Buddhist Centre, the Islamic Centre and many churches of the various Christian denominations. All these will be available for Daniel and Emma to explore as they grow older and I want to be able to help them make sense of the different relgions and to have an understanding and appreciation of them.

When the book arrived Daniel was really intrigued – and wasn’t too keen on waiting for me to take photos! As soon as I took it out of the packaging he wanted me to open it, and he has picked it up time and time again since – his favourite page is the one where the elephant kneels. We read the book together the following afternoon when Emma slept. He was really engaged with the illustrations and pop ups and I thought we would build on this and do some elephant crafts.

A quick search of google for ‘elephant crafts’ and I spotted various paper plate elephants. I thought we would give that a go, and I think it could, quite possibly, be one of my best crafty endeavours yet. We stuck various bits of crepe paper (and stickers) onto a paper plate. I then cut a trunk shape, an ear shape and leg shapes which we decorated and glued to the plate. With the aid of some goggly eyes (which is absolutely Daniel’s favourite thing to craft with!) we had elephants.

toddler paper plate elephants

The book itself is beautiful. It has some really lovely pop ups in it and Daniel is mesmerised by it. I have read it to him a few times, but as he is only just two, he isn’t quite as engaged with the story as I expect he will be in a year or two. I am surprised with just how often he picks up this book to look at it, or brings it to me to operate some of the pop ups for him. The story is quite difficult for Daniel at the moment to understand as it uses words, phrases and place names which don’t often come up in the types of things I read let alone what we read together but despite this he wants to read it almost daily! The same is true of his Noah’s Ark and Daniel and the Lions stories; they’re just that little bit too advanced for him at the moment.

Story of the Elephant reviewWhat I like about this book is that it is beautifully engaging and will certainly be a wonderful and simple introduction into learning about Islam for Daniel and Emma. Having this sort of book is really easy to use and I plan to read a bit more about the story of the elephant myself in preparation for some extended learning.

The publishers are also going to make available some lesson plan type information for schools to use, so this will, I am sure, be something of interest to the home education community who are looking for a way to introduce RE.

I’m already thinking of other elephant based crafts Daniel, Emma and I can do in the future as we look to learn more about the story of the elephant.

This is a beautiful book and I will be watching with interest the other books from this publisher – it will certianly be a book that I expect we will be reading together many times over the coming years.


I was sent a copy of this book to review. All words and opinions are my own.

Weekend Book ClubMamaMummyMumLet Them Be SmallLet Them Be Small
Mami 2 Five
Reading Together


  1. 23rd January 2015 / 13:42

    Awww these elephants are Cute. My favourite animal! Sounds an interesting book to teach religion. I would not know where to start to teach it myself so this book sounds ideal

    • 25th January 2015 / 14:34

      its fab shona, I hope it will be a nice intro for the children into the pillars of islam and from there we can undertake visits to the mosque etc x

  2. 24th January 2015 / 16:08

    Lovely review – and great craft idea I must give this a go *add paper plates to the craft box list*. Religion is fascinating, there are some great fiction adult books, I loved the expected one which is a bit of a da vinci code type book!

    • 25th January 2015 / 14:32

      Paper plates are fab for crafting with πŸ™‚ I have them on my crafting prompt for later in the year xx

  3. 24th January 2015 / 19:50

    Sounds like just the sort of thing we would love to read here, I’m all for learning and experiencing stories from different religions. Love the craft ideas too #weekendbookclub

    • 25th January 2015 / 14:32

      Thank you. I think it is so important that children understand the different religions and cultures around us, and this book is a wonderful introduction to that x

  4. 24th January 2015 / 20:31

    Sounds like a great book and I love the paper plate elephants. Am very tempted to give these a go with my little ones πŸ™‚

    • 25th January 2015 / 14:31

      it is fab Louise – let me know if you do the elephants and how you get on with them πŸ™‚

  5. 24th January 2015 / 21:12

    I know this story! Great idea to make a paper plate elephant. We are making some paper plate animals this week too πŸ™‚

    • 25th January 2015 / 14:31

      ah that’s great Tarana. It is such a beautiful book and so much potential in terms of the gentle learning that can be done with children based on it x

  6. 25th January 2015 / 14:44

    Love these. Something to do this week with my little ones. Thank you

  7. 26th January 2015 / 08:18

    Oh these look lovely! S loves elephants, we might give this a go! #ReadWithMe

  8. 26th January 2015 / 08:46

    What a lovely book and intriduction for children into different cultures and religion. My soon to be 7 yr old loves learning, so this would interest him.

  9. 26th January 2015 / 09:28

    I love your elephant craft! We often do book related crafts πŸ™‚


  10. 26th January 2015 / 11:38

    I’m always looking for great craft things to do! So thanks for sharing! These look fab πŸ™‚ Thanks for linking up to #sundaystars this week too. Jess x

  11. 26th January 2015 / 11:52

    That book sounds lovely πŸ™‚ to The paper plate elephants are an old nursery favourite perfect for 2 year olds!

  12. 27th January 2015 / 10:56

    What a lovely activity to support the book. And having the opportunity to support the story like this is fun as well as helping the learning too. Interesting book too.

  13. amytreasure0
    27th January 2015 / 23:15

    How sweet I think I’m going to get that. Love the idea of introducing religion in this type of form x

  14. 28th January 2015 / 13:25

    Sounds like a really lovely book and I love the elephant crafts, good ideas.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

  15. 28th January 2015 / 19:13

    Adorable I love these and I know my Little Tots would as well πŸ™‚ #LetKidsBeKids

  16. 29th January 2015 / 20:28

    The books sounds really lovely – I do love a good religious story, like you I’m not religious myself but I find the tradition and so forth really interesting.
    Lovely to see you linking up with #TriedTested this week πŸ™‚ x

  17. 29th January 2015 / 22:47

    Ahh those Elephants are cute, and that book looks beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing #ToddlerApprovedTuesday

  18. 30th January 2015 / 09:35

    I will take a look at the book! We actually find it really hard to find enough good quality Islamic storybooks for the kids, so this one sounds quite promising. I think it’s lovely that you’re introducing him to a wide range of books like this. And your paper plate elephants are really cute πŸ™‚

  19. 30th January 2015 / 19:19

    Oh that’s a great craft! I think i’ll have to do this as have all the simple craft bits i need! x #the craftingprompt

  20. 1st February 2015 / 13:48

    lovely elephant plates and fab book review. I love your outlook on teaching religion, it’s very similar to how I feel.

    Thanks for linking again #toddlerapprovedtuesday hope to see you for #parentideaswap too x

  21. 24th February 2015 / 20:54

    I love how you did a craft linked to the book. The elephants look fab!

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