Elephants!: Strange and Wonderful

by Laurence Pringle (Author) Meryl Learnihan Henderson (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

Learn all about the elephant in this nonfiction picture book that explores every aspect of these giant mammals.

This latest title in the Strange and Wonderful series allows young readers to journey into the lives of elephants in various habitats throughout the world. Kids will learn how elephants use their trunk, how they communicate, what they eat, and about their family groupings. The book also shows how we can ensure that elephants continue to live and thrive. Combining careful research and beautiful illustrations, this book is perfect for those who have an interest in animals and conservation.


In this rich addition to the Strange and Wonderful series, readers will learn amazing facts about elephants' bodies, communication, life cycle, diet, and social groups, as well as about different elephant species, environmental challenges they face, and their importance in various human cultures. The text does not shy away from sophisticated and specialized vocabulary...(and) soft, rich illustrations will likely draw readers in and can help them build a closer connection with the elephants shown. An excellent resource for reports, or for curious readers ready to delve into information about these gigantic and extraordinary animals.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 4-7--The elephant has been a powerful and important figure in human culture for centuries. Depicted on the walls of caves in prehistoric times, used in combat, and a mainstay of zoos around the world, elephants are universally recognizable and revered. The three remaining species of elephants live in Africa and Asia, and while they look similar, there are marked differences among them. No matter what, though, elephants have unique ways of communicating with one another, build strong family bonds, and are at great risk of disappearing because of human interference. This nonfiction picture book is packed with facts and information about elephants, including their physical attributes and their importance in global human society. Blocks of text appear on each page, making this book best suited to older elementary school and middle school-age readers. Though the amount of text may initially feel overwhelming, manageable sentences and familiar vocabulary help readers navigate the wealth of information presented. Potentially new terminology stands out in bold font and is defined in a glossary at the end of the book, where further resources are also listed. Watercolor and pencil illustrations depict elephants in a variety of settings as they live, work, and play together throughout their lives. The blend of images and text in this book enhances readers' understanding of the elephant and its complex existence. VERDICT This is an important and detailed inclusion for any library collection emphasizing conservation and the study of elephants.--Mary Lanni, formerly at Denver P.L.

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Laurence Pringle
Laurence Pringle has written more than 100 books for children and teenagers, including the Strange and Wonderful series and The Secret Life series, among other award-winning science titles. Internationally, his books have sold more than 3 million copies.

Kate Garchinsky was born and raised just upstream of John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, and received her BFA in illustration from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, with a focus in nature and children's literature. She is the illustrator of several of The Secret Life books by Laurence Pringle.
Illustrator site: penguinart.com
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Astra Young Readers
Publication date
August 20, 2021
Strange and Wonderful
BISAC categories
JNF003140 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Mammals
JNF003270 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Endangered
JNF003070 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Elephants
Library of Congress categories
African elephant

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