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Celebrate Elmer Day with our favourite elephant books

Elmer and the Rainbow, 10 Reasons to Love an Elephant, Elmer and the Race

Saturday 26 May is Elmer Day, marking the 30th anniversary of David McKee's patchwork elephant. We're celebrating with events across our libraries and a list of our favourite books about Elmer and other elephants.

Board books


A special version of Elmer's first adventure for babies.

Elmer's World

"Explore the touch-and-feel world of Elmer and his colourful friends in this bright, fun first concepts playbook. Perfect for parents and babies to enjoy together, this book is jam-packed with stimulating colours and touch-and-feel areas to really engage little ones."

Elmer and the Rainbow

"Elmer and the other elephants are waiting for the storm to end so they can see the beautiful rainbow. But something dreadful happens - the rainbow has come out too soon and has lost its colours!"

Elmer and the Lost Teddy

"One night, Elmer hears the sound of crying. It's Baby Elephant and he can't sleep because he has lost his teddy. Elmer spends the whole of the next day looking for the teddy."

Elmer and Wilbur

"Elmer loves practical jokes, but so does his black and white cousin Wilbur. Until, that is, Elmer has an idea which brings Wilbur back down to earth, in more ways than one."

Picture books


"Join Elmer, the multi-colour patchwork elephant, on his very first adventure. A firm favourite with children of all ages, Elmer is an elephant who loves to play practical jokes."

Elmer and the Tune

"When Rose meets Elmer she's humming a tune, a tune she just can't get out of her head. When she leaves, Elmer realises he can't get the tune out of his head either - and as he crosses the jungle he can see the infectious tune spreading to every animal Rose has met! Can Elmer help everyone get rid of it?"

Elmer and the Flood

"Rain or no rain, Elmer is going for a walk. After being cooped up in a cave with his herd, he longs for a bit of fresh air and some peace and quiet. But peace and quiet is going to have to wait - when Elmer goes outside, he discovers the rain has caused a flood. Can brave Elmer work out a way to save a stranded young elephant?"

Elmer and the Race

"The young elephants want to have a race to prove who is fastest, so Elmer and Wilbur organise a course. With each racer decorated a different colour, they set off around the course and discover things about themselves."

Elmer and the Monster

"There is pandemonium in the jungle! A strange roaring sound sends the animals stampeding, convinced it's a monster. But all is not as it seems. Only Elmer is brave enough to investigate, and what he discovers comes as quite a surprise!"

Elmer and the Snake

Snake conspires with the elephants to play a trick on Elmer. It works, until they tickle him!

Elmer and the Whales

"Elmer and his cousin Wilbur decide to go to the coast to see the whales. But their journey becomes far more of an adventure then they expected, when they find themselves lost at sea. Can the whales help them back to shore?"

Other favourite elephants

The Elephant and the Bad Baby, by Elfrida Vipont & Raymond Briggs

"The Elephant takes the Bad Baby for a ride and they go 'rumpeta, rumpeta, rumpeta down the road.' They help themselves to ice creams, pies, buns, crisps, biscuits, lollipops and apples, and the shopkeepers follow them down the road shouting and waving. All ends well as the Bad Baby learns to say 'Please' and his mother makes pancakes for everyone."

The Story of Babar: the little elephant, by Jean de Brunhoff

"In this book, readers meet Babar for the first time and learn how the little elephant is forced by fierce hunters to run away to the big city."

You Can't Take an Elephant Drive a Bus, by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

"You can't take an elephant on the bus - it would simply cause a terrible fuss! Never put a camel in a sailing boat, or a tiger on a train, and don't even THINK about asking a whale to ride a bike. This riotous picture book is filled with animals causing total disaster as they try to travel in the most unsuitable vehicles."

You Can't Let an Elephant Drive a Digger, by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

"Elephants driving diggers? Gorillas on scooters? A shark in the bath? A kangaroo on the loo? Join in with the fun as an array of improbable creatures try to be helpful (with hilarious consequences) in this laugh-out-loud picture book."

10 Reasons to Love an Elephant, by Catherine Barr & Hanako Clulow

"Elephants go on incredible migrations, know that granny knows best, can incredibly clever and can scare off lions with their huge ears. Show you love them by buying FSC products and NEVER buying anything made of ivory."

Elephant, by Petr Horacek

"A young boy spends his day playing games with his imaginary friend, the Elephant. Real or not, when Grandma and Grandpa are busy, the Elephant proves to be the perfect playmate."

The Slightly Annoying Elephant, by David Walliams & Tony Ross

"Number-one best-selling duo David Walliams and Tony Ross present their first picture book. Elephants never forget - and neither will millions of readers once they've met the slightly annoying elephant."

That's Not My Elephant..., by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells

Young children can feel their way to the right elephant with this modern classic.

Are You There Little Elephant?, by Sam Taplin & Emily Dove

"In this illustrated hide-and-seek series, children can 'spot' the elephant through a hole on each page - but when they turn the page it isn't the elephant at all! Very young children will love searching for the elusive elephant, and all the charming details and other animals they discover along the way."

When an Elephant Falls in Love, by Davide Calì & ALice Lotti

"When an elephant falls in love, he does many foolish things. He hides when the elephant-object of his affection is around. He writes dozens of letters that he will never send. And he tries to be healthy, but ends up finishing the cheesecake.

"This soulful book is at once relatable and revealing, a reminder that love is worth striving for and that the very best things in life will come to those who wait."