Review Blog

Sep 04 2012

Mr McGee and the elephants by Pamela Allen

cover image

PenguinViking, 2012. ISBN 9780 670 07651 2.
(Ages: 4+) Highly recommended. Picture book. When Mr McGee climbs his apple tree, he becomes stuck, but two elephants passing by spy him and rescue him. He invites them to sat for tea, and goes off to make a cup of tea with vegemite and butter slices of bread. While doing this for his rescuers, the third elephant climbs the tree, grabbing at the apples for himself. Despite being told to come down, the elephant choses not to hear Mr McGee, eventually picking him up in his trunk and throwing him away. Mr McGee lands in something not very nice but when he returns, covered in mud and slime, the elephant thinks he is a monster and runs away, leaving the two friendly elephants to wash him down. All ends well.
Told in rhyming sentences, the story simply begs to be read aloud again and again. Children young and old will love to hear the tale, joining in when some of the lines are learnt, suggesting the rhyme at the end of each line, predicting the word that will rhyme with the line before. They will be horrified with the naughty elephant's behaviour, and pacified when the two others help Mr McGee. From this seemingly simple story, discussions will evolve about right and wrong, about different behaviours and helping those in need.
The familiar figure of Mr McGee will entice and delight readers, and the illustrations of the apple tree spreading across the page, along with the elephants will grab their attention. This is a wonderful tale, beautifully illustrated form start to finish and will add to the enormous pile of Pamela Allen's books which are rarely on the shelf.
Fran Knight

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