The Smellyphant by Gavin Buckley, e-book picture book, published by Gavin Buckley | Art – Illustration – Design in 2015.
Samson is a rather smelly elephant with pegs on his tail and a knot is his trunk. Due to his overpowering stenchiness, the other elephants don’t want to play with him. Samson is sad and alone, watching the others, will he ever get to join in?
The other elephants are mean to Samson, refusing to let him play with them, because he is a bit stinky and different. But when Samson helps them out, things change. They only really accepted him when he became more like them, they didn’t accept him as is. On the other hand, Samson chooses to perform a brave act for the elephants who have previously shunned him. He shows us that we all have differing abilities and strengths, and that compassion is a virtue. However, the message my kids got from this story was that we should all maintain good personal hygiene, for everyone’s sakes. Baths are important, my lovely children!
The illustrations in this book are simply gorgeous. Each page is filled with vivid and colourful pictures perfectly complementing the story. The elephants are rather comical themselves, and I liked the way the trees were drawn with green leafy spheres. The flies buzzing about Samson’s rear were also a nice touch. My favourite illustration shows Samson avoiding a bath by hanging onto the curtain rod, and I love that the author uses the word ‘kersploosh’ with the bathtub, what a wonderfully descriptive word.
The story rhymes, which is good for reading aloud, and it was funny. I liked the way that the text was written on each page, with varying styles, size and location to suit the illustrations. My kids had to ask what the word ‘pong’ meant, and then each time it was used in the story it made them laugh.
My five year old loved this story. She thought Samson was cute and funny, and she liked that he didn’t want to have a bath! My eight year old also enjoyed the story, but she wanted to know why he had pegs on his tail and why he had a knot in his trunk. We hypothesised that the knot was to help to keep him from smelling his own stink, but we didn’t come up with a good reason for the pegs. She didn’t have the same queries about the elephants playing hopscotch though!
Most suitable for preschool and lower primary school children, The Smellyphant was a fun book for sharing. Great for elephant lovers and lovers of rhyming picture books.
*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions and that of my children.