How the Elephant Got his Trunk

What’s big and grey and is ready to go away on holiday?

An elephant - becuse he always has his trunk ready to go.

But.  What if the elephant didn’t always have a trunk ...

How The Elephant Got his Trunk
retold by Andrea Florens
illustrated by Angela Sinclair
published by Art Publishers
African folk tale
suitable for children 4 - 7

how the story begins
Long, long ago in Africa, the elephants that roamed the veld look very much as they do today.  They were the biggest of all the animals with huge bellies and heavy legs.  the elephants had enormous ears and two white tusks.  But there was something quite different about those elephants so many years ago...

A long time ago, elephants did not have lovely, long trunks. Having a short stubby nose was not convenient for the elephants.  Eating and drinking was awkward. One day, a little elephant was kneeling down, drinking from an unfamiliar river.  Snap! an crocodile bit the end of his nose.  A tug-o-war ensued.  

The elephant escaped from the crocodile, but was a bit mis-shapen as a result of his ordeal.

The story is told in an upbeat, friendly way.  Not deep literature, but friendly, "lets’ sit down together" kind of story-telling.  The pictures are the kind of cutsie anthropomorphic that I am not not drawn to - I would have preferred them to look more “African”.  But this is a book published in South Africa for South African readers.  Not for tourists to take home as an African memory

My memory is going to be the elephants we met on the road (in Hluhluwe Imfolozi National Park) a couple of days ago.

We were driving down the road in our safari jeep, rounded a corner and saw ...

The elephants kept coming out of the bush, and our safari guide kept calmly backing the jeep up.  We were in elephant territory, and it was our job to get out of the way.  

There were majestic matriarchs, young 'uns, and a baby who was so new it kept falling over its own feet, needing to be scooped up by a friendly trunk. 

Our guide figured there were 60 - 70 elephants in the herd.  An amazing experience to be so close to them.

resources - other than going to Africa and seeing elephants 
Learn about elephants. 

I am always a sucker for handprint creations.  This elephant is definitely cute.

source: Cheshire Mum
Walking with elephant feet looks like a lot of fun.  And a great hand-foot co-ordination activity. 

source: Green Kids Crafts: Trash to Treasure Thursdays
Enjoy this version of How the Elephant Got his Trunk, 

or any of the many other elephant trunk tales.

And please keep a look out for my next Africa book review -  you can see it also has an elephant connection.

Image Map


  1. This is awesome! I have two young boys and I'm always looking for great reads for them. Thanks!

    1. This is a pretty boy friendly story - animals, sharp teeth, drama. I think they will like it. :)


  2. What a fantastic blog post. I love all of your additional activities. The book looks cute. Stopping by on the Booknificent Linky. Nice to *meet* you. Following you via email and Facebook now.

    Have a great rest of the week!

  3. Thanks so much for stopping by.


  4. Wow! So many versions of elephants getting their trunks! Who woulda thought?! i like all your activities. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This looks wonderful, Sandi! I love retellings of those old creation type stories and this one looks so cute! Thanks for sharing!

  6. What an adventure! Great activities to go along with your review. Thanks.

  7. Thank you Sandi, this is such an adorable book. Love the illustrations and story. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Wow. That shows how many different ways to tell a story. On safari just a few days ago! I wish I could go again sooner rather than later!

  9. Looks great! And I love the hand-print cute!

  10. Oh wow! To be that close to so many elephants would be divine. You know...I've never done an elephant unit. It could be fun! Thanks for the resources, Sandi.

  11. Great review! I love the handprint elephants so much! Thanks for sharing at Booknificent Thursday!


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