Mum’s elephant by Maureen Jipiyiliya Nampijinpa O’Keefe, illus by Christina Booth.

Set in the red sand desert of the Australian outback we meet a young girl, her mother and her mother’s elephant!

Mum’s elephant is very special indeed and the children know just how special it is by the way mum cleans it, talks to it and involves it in every part of her life.

The elephant brings community, brings conversation and even childhood curiosity!

But what is the elephant really?

Maureen Jipiyiliya Nampijinpa O’Keefe has written this story in a very clever way personifying the most well known of household items into something so marvellous that children may be a little perplexed by the outcome!

The pairing with Christine Booth is amazing. The illustrations add so much more to this story showing the elephant amongst the community in a place you could call its habitat!

Children have loved this story and although they had to think a little harder than usual, it lead into some great discussions and learning points.

So what can you do?

  1. Ask students to write a review of this book. As the story is a memory/recount text, students will have to be more aware of the time sequence words they use.
  2. Look at how personification has been used throughout the text. Create your own story just like this one to practise.
  3. Link in with a geography unit about Australia. Look at the colours of the desert and how these people use the outdoors. 

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