by Syd Hoff
Reading Level 2.1
|Setting:||A town where the circus is visiting.|
|Characters:||Oliver the elephant, the circus owner, and the people of the town|
|Plot:||Oliver the elephant was supposed to join the circus, but the circus owner only ordered ten elephants, and Oliver was number eleven getting off the boat. He tries numerous ways to find a home, but nothing seems to work out for him.|
|Solution:||Oliver is really very talented, and eventually the circus owner gives him a job.|
|Summary:||Oliver the elephant is left all alone at the shipping dock because the circus owner did not order eleven elephants, but only ten. Oliver doesn't know where to go. A mouse suggests he try the zoo, but they do not need an elephant either. He tries being a pet, but most people already have pets. He tries being a dog for a lady, but she has no hay for him to eat. He tries being a horse, but he cannot jump the fence. He passes a playground where he plays with the children, and they have a wonderful time! At rest time, they talk about what they want to be when they grow up. When it's Oliver's turn, he tells them he wants to be a dancing elephant, and he dances for the children. Many people stop to watch because he is so good. The circus parade happens to be coming down the street, and no one pays any attention to it—they're too busy watching Oliver dance. When the circus owner sees what is happening, he changes his mind and decides he does need Oliver in the circus after all.|
|Curriculum Connections:||Pet unit, circus unit, character education—determination|
Ask the students if they have ever seen an elephant walking around all by itself. Explain that only if they travel to Africa or Asia would they be able to see an elephant walking around alone in the wild. They will not see one walking down a city street in America. Ask what they know about elephants. Correct any misconceptions.
Show students the cover of the book. Ask what they think the story might be about. Show them the pictures of the circus acts. Ask how these two scenes might be connected.
Ask students to do the following exercise: Close your eyes and picture yourself sliding down an elephant's trunk. What does it feel like? Did you like it? Why or why not?
Tell students the following: The author of this book is Syd Hoff. He has written other stories that you can read all by yourself. Where would you find his books?