"Stand Back," Said the Elephant, "I'm Going to Sneeze!" Patricia Thomas. Illustrated by Wallace Tripp. 1971. 32 pages. [Source: Bought]
First sentence: "Stand back," said the elephant, "I'm going to sneeze! I hate to alarm you, but I don't wish to harm you. My friends, I fear it's clear...oh, dear, you'd better stand back, I'm going to sneeze."
Premise/plot: ALL of Elephant's friends are super-concerned about the coming sneeze. And perhaps rightly so...considering their past experiences when elephant has sneezed! Every animal tells--in rhyme, of course--what happens when this elephant sneezes. But one animal has a plan...will it work????
My thoughts: I can relate to the protagonist in this one. I can. I have very LOUD sneezes--though it isn't so much gust as NOISE. (Spoiler alert, I also LAUGH really, really, really loud....again just like the elephant in this story.) I don't have personal memories of holding this book in my hand and reading it. But I do remember plenty of times when my mother has told me, STAND BACK, SAID THE ELEPHANT, I'M GOING TO SNEEZE. So I'm guessing that this one was read aloud to us plenty...I just don't remember.
It is written all in rhyme. I didn't love it or hate it. It's not as wonderful as say a Dr. Seuss book written in rhyme. But it wasn't dreadful either. (So many books that are written in rhyme tend to show the struggle author's have to force it. Forced rhyming just isn't fun for anyone, right?!)
Despite being a picture book with thirty-two pages, there is a LOT of text per page. So it wouldn't be inappropriate in a second or even third grade classroom. It would work as a read aloud, of course, but probably only for a child with a long(er) attention span. You could even ask questions throughout--what do you think is going to happen next? Do you think elephant is going to sneeze? do you think bees really crawl on their knees?! Or is the author being silly?!
Definitely recommend this one.
© 2021 Becky Laney of Young Readers