Author: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Illustrator: Jarrett J. Krosoczka
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: October 2011
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Summary: After the McLaughlins find Ollie, a purple elephant, alone in the park one day, they invite him to live with them. They are so happy with Ollie in their lives but the family's cat, Ginger, and their downstairs neighbor, Mr. Puddlebottom, don't like Ollie! In fact, the two of them scheme to get Ollie out of the house for good! Will they be successful?
What I Think: Ollie is just such a happy guy! I'm glad the McLaughlins find him in the park. As a parent, I thought it was funny that the parents said the kids could have a purple elephant if they ever found one! At least it was a good thing that this purple elephant was added to their family. I would love to have Ollie come to my house and join our dance parties.
The dance parties were my favorite part of this book! We have lots of spontaneous dance parties. It's fun as the baby is getting older and now he can dance around with us, too - although his dancing looks a little more like spinning around or doing squats! It's fun for all of us to get up and get some energy out. The kids love it. It reminds me of when I read Pete the Cat: Rocking In My School Shoes with my own kids and with students at the beginning of the school year. My student teacher and I had fun singing and dancing with the kids as we read the book. It was fun to see kids get silly and dance. One student did a crazy breakdance move that I would have never guessed he was capable of. There should be more dancing all around! You can visit Jarrett's website to find Ollie's kid-friendly playlist! You can even download an Ollie wallpaper.
This book is a perfect book for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday - why? Because it's a fun family story. I know I am thankful to have such a great family and this book celebrates being a family and having fun together. I hope that whenever you read this book you have dance parties with your family or with your class (another type of family, right?).
There is more to this book than dance parties, though. Two characters are not so happy about Ollie joining he McLaughlin family and they team up to try and get rid of Ollie. I like the message of, "What goes around comes around." You can't help but root for Ollie!
Read Together: K - 5
Read Alone: 3 - 5
Read With: Prudence Wants a Pet by Cathleen Daly, A Pet For Petunia by Paul Schmid, Amanda and Her Alligator by Mo Willems, Gabby and Gator by James Burks
Snatch of Text:
"After dinner, the McLaughlin family had impromptu dance parties. Oh, the dance parties they would have! Ollie loved to dance.
But Ginger, the McLaughlin's cat, didn't much care for dancing. She didn't much care for Ollie, for that matter. He had taken her favorite spot on the couch at night."Reading Strategies to Practice: Making Connections, Making Predictions, Visualizing
Writing Strategies to Practice: Narrative, Plot Development
Writing Prompts: Write about an imaginary animal you would love to bring home with you if you could convince your parents! Explain what you would be able to do with your exotic animal. (Dance parties?)
Topics Covered: Family, Loyalty, Friendship, Envy