The Big Elephant in the Room
by Lane Smith
About the book: Two friends are talking about The BIG ELEPHANT in the room. Are they referring to the embarrassing problem of the baby bike incident? The rainbow pony backpack? The suspicious pool color? Or none of these things? See what happens when a small misunderstanding becomes a BIG problem.
About the author/illustrator Lane Smith:
Lane Smith has been making children’s books since 1987. He wrote and illustrated Madam President and John, Paul, George & Ben, a New York Times best seller. Lane has illustrated books by Dr. Seuss, Jack Prelutsky, Roald Dahl, George Saunders, and Bob Shea, among others. With his most frequent collaborator, Jon Scieszka, he has created modern classics such as The Stinky Cheese Man, a Caldecott Honor winner, and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Lane and his wife, designer Molly Leach, live in Connecticut.
Don’t miss these other books by Lane Smith:
Madame President # ISBN-10: 1423108469 # ISBN-13: 978-1423108467
John, Paul, George and Ben # ISBN-10: 0786848936 # ISBN-13: 978-0786848935
What is a misunderstanding? How do they happen? What’s the best way to get over one?
Questions to consider:
- A big elephant in a room is a big problem that people are trying not to talk about or think about. Have you ever tried to ignore a big problem before?
- List all the things that he thinks are the big elephant (or problem).
- Do you think he really forced down that crunchy nut ice cream or not? What makes you think so or not?
- What one thing would you never let someone borrow (in case they might not bring it back?)
- What happened to his computer? What’s the worst thing you’ve ever broken?
- What’s the best thing to do about a bully? How can friends help with bullies? Can teachers help too?
- What do you do if there’s only one cool bike?
- Can you keep a secret? Did he keep a secret for his friend? How hard is it to keep a secret?
- Which part is your favorite? Why?
- Will they still be friends? What do you think he might be most mad about now?
Create a No Elephants in the Classroom display to air out concerns and problems from the room, playground, or bus. After reading the story together, provide an old ice cream container (and change the flavor to Crunchy-Nut, of course) and leave elephant-shaped paper beside it for kids to write out their concerns. Discuss at class meetings weekly. At the end of the year enjoy crunchy nut ice-cream party and great friendships!
Stories have three parts- a beginning, a middle and an end. Summarize what happened in each part. Then, because good readers make connections between what they are reading and what they are thinking. What does each part remind you of? Has something like this ever happened to you or a friend?
In the beginning….
In the middle…
In the end…
Lane Smith uses really small moments and great details to bring this story of two friends to life. Write a small moment or single scene about two new friends who have a misunderstanding or disagreement about something and use THE BIG ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM as your mentor text. You may even try writing about another idiom! (Idiom ideas: beggars can’t be choosers, benefit of the doubt, out of the blue, by the book, get to the bottom of, the best thing since sliced bread)
Music: Sing this song to the tune “Frere Jacques”
The big elephant
The big elephant
in the room
in the room
pretending he is not there
pretending that we don’t care
but we do!
You would too!
Illustrate the following idioms inspired by Lane Smith’s art!
Let’s CLEAR the AIR
UP IN ARMS