The Elephant’s Child

The Elephant’s Child
The Elephant’s Child
Guest Post by Stacia Mitchell – First Step’s Child Care
          When you are halfway listening to someone read a book to a group of kids, you certainly do not expect to hear “And they spanked him for a very long time” to come out of the readers mouth, But that is exactly what happened this morning. As a daycare provider I expect to get a surprise every day, some are good and some are bad. I’m considering this book, today’s surprise and it is UNBELIEVABLE! 


       After I snatched the book away from my assistant and read it to myself I was shocked! How could this be a children’s book? The Elephant’s Child is the book I’m talking about, copyright 1989. It’s a story about a curious little elephant who asks a lot of questions. He asks why the ostrich’s feathers grow just so, and why the giraffe has spots, The animal’s reply? They SPANK him! So the curious little elephant sets off to find out what crocodiles eat for dinner. He gets spanked along the way by random animals and almost eaten by the crocodile, who just ends up stretching out the elephants nose into a trunk. When the elephant returns home, the animals try to spank him again but I guess he has had enough because he fights back and throws a monkey into a beehive! Another elephant notices his nose is different and tells him “It is very ugly”, so our curious little elephant says” yes, but it useful”  and he spanks all the animals with it for a long time! End of the story, all the other elephants want trunks too, so they hurry off to get them from the crocodile.

The Elephant’s Child

WOW! I can’t even believe this book! I guess back in 1989 it was normal to spank kids for asking questions? Can you even imagine? If you are looking for a book to teach your kids that physical violence this would be the one, bullying someone who looks different is acceptable, and that the saying  “an eye for an eye” is the way to do things, then this is the book you are looking for! 
Considering I was four years old when this was published, maybe I do not remember how people were raising up their children, but this just goes to show how the times have changed! The worst part, this book is a “Read With Me” book, and it has tips for parents in the beginning to have your child follow along and say the word when they see the pictures!
Next time I get a box of books from a garage sale, I will make sure to actually read each and every one before they go on my bookshelf. I wouldn’t want my daycare kids to turn into a bunch of crazy spanking machines! 
About Miranda Sherman

Miranda Sherman is a stay at home Mom of four & full time student majoring in Business Management & Marketing from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota. She blogs about her crazy family of six & two dogs on her blog Minnesota Miranda, featuring book and product reviews, giveaways, news, parenting tips and advice, shopping, recipes, fashion, travel, deals and so much more.” Find me on Google+


  1. wow..that is insane..

  2. I was born in 88 and was never spanked, and I have never even considered spanking my kids now. I guess I feel there are more productive ways of parenting.

  3. Isn’t it amazing how things that were previously considered acceptable are now so thought-provoking. I try to read old favorites before giving them to my younger relatives…and realize that some are very inappropriate so I have to find something else.

  4. Wow! My how the times have changed. This book is certainly shocking, and why SO many references to spanking, even on just one page? That’s a little redundant, don’t you think?

  5. Even though I’m sitting here flabbergasted at a book like this ever being published, it does sort of remind me that there has been a lot of change that’s occurred in my life time (which is probably as long as yours) and that humanity (or at least the society I live in) has progressed exponentially in what would be considered a relatively short amount of time. It also makes me think about how habituated we can get to the status quo even though change is always occurring, albeit in a subtle way. That is how I rationalize our shock when we reflect back on something in the past that is now considered arcane or maybe even beneath us.

  6. Wow, I would have been shocked if I had read that as well!

  7. I do realize that this book is quite to the extreme. Wow. Never heard of this book before.
    I am curious if you have a problem with Ping though.

  8. Unbelievable! I would have been shocked.

  9. LOL that book is kinda funny, but not really appropriate for younger kids! Kinda sad they didn’t want him to ask questions

  10. WOW!!!! A book about spanking because questions were asked!!! SMH!!!!

  11. wow…my granddaughter is 2 1/2 yrs old and if i read her this book, she wouldn’t know what i was talking about…now, time-out is a whole different thing!

  12. eep! will definitely keep my son away from this book!

  13. My son was probably around 6 at the time this book was written. While I do believe in making sure that kids learn that there are concequences to their actions I would NEVER let my child or grandchildren read this book!!! It teaches bulling and that it’s not okay to be different. We need to teach our youth that being different is not only acceptable, but that it was makes each person unique!!

  14. Everyone parents differently…it’s just a matter of opinion. And yes, spanking was way more accepted years ago.

  15. the whole strangers thing is weird, tho, I’ll admit.

  16. I spanked my children when I raised them. But in this day and age I know there are other methods to discipline. and I would use the new methods.

  17. this looks cute! my niece would love this!

  18. Nice!

  19. I think spanking was used way more in years previous than it is today. My two cents…well, some may agree and some may hate me…. I have seen a major decline in respect for authority and all around courtesy since the decline of spanking. I was spanked as a form of discipline for many years and I wouldn’t dare have attempted things that are going on now a days. Call me the devil’s advocate but these are my observations!

  20. This book would be nice to read to my grandson.

  21. That is horrible. I can’t ever remember thinking spanking was good for when a kid asks questions. I admit to getting a couple spankings in my life, but it was for some serious things I did. I remember to this day why I got them too. This book needs to be banned!!

  22. this looks like a good book!

  23. I remember this book from when I was younger – crazy how things change.

  24. Someone needs to ban this book. Aweful!

  25. Unbelievable! Having read the comments I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a generation of useless mothers-hens now. And that’s the greatest threat for the next generations, but NOT this book! Don’t you understand that YOU should read such books with your children. And explain them what is “good” and what is “bad”. YOU should explain your child that he or she shouldn’t trust unknown “crocodiles”, shouldn’t bull the others and etc, using this story as an example of inappropriate behavior! You should think first of all (or try to) and you should teach your child to think and to analyse the world.

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