Ella the Pink Elephant: Her Life, Love and Fame
Ella the elephant is the pride and joy of the zoo. Her new keeper, Zeppo, pays extra special attention to dressing her in fancy outfits, pink slippers, and even pink makeup. Adored by zoo staff, Ella is also well-loved by zoo visitors who come to lavish praise upon Ella. She is indeed a treasure to the community. As Ella gets older, she outgrows her elegant clothes and it becomes clear that it’s time for her to leave the zoo and pursue another life. Ella is given to a wedding planner who will use Ella in photographs and during wedding ceremonies. This is a change from the zoo, but she is adored just as much in her new role and by her new keeper, Anna, thus continuing her charmed life.
Ella experiences one more life change, due to aging and returns to a zoo for retirement. It is at this moment that readers experience a shift in Ella’s usually pleasant demeanor. Ella looks at herself in the mirror and begins to question who she is and if she’ll be liked without her adornments and makeup: “I am neither Ella the beautiful ‘Elephant Baby,’ nor am I Ella the gorgeous ‘Young Lady.’” Without her makeup and embroidered blankets, she is just a gray elephant like all the rest.
For the first time in her life Ella is naked without the fancy costumes. Will her once doting crowd still love her?
The brightly colored pages with decorative borders reminiscent of India ,where elephants are revered, set an upbeat tone for the story. Rueger’s rather elementary crayon drawings are endearing and may encourage young readers to create their own drawings of Ella and her time at the zoo.
The font choice and size may draw the reader’s attention to the book’s punctuation and grammatical elements. Still, Ella the Pink Elephant: Her Life, Love and Fame is a nicely written, heart-warming story delicately dealing with aging and life transitions. At a time when we are inundated with images of the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous, this story offers a starting point for discussing our true selves and inner happiness.
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