She Leads (The Elephant Matriarch)
Author: June Smalls
Illustrator: Yumi Shimokawara
Ages: 3 to 8 years old
Throughout the book, we follow the herd and are able to see and experience all the different characteristics that make these animals special.
Whenever I take my students to the zoo, they are invariably drawn to the elephants. My own kids always had the same reaction. I am not sure if it is their size, their gentle appearance, or the association to cartoons and stories about elephants but, they are the one animal most kids find fascinating.
Smalls gives us a story that is actually two stories in one. In larger, more prominent print, she tells the story of how the elephant matriarch leads her herd. Smalls leads the reader on a journey with the queen and her subjects as they search for food, water, and shelter. She shows us how the older elephants teach the younger ones how to care for their young. We learn about what dangers elephants face and how they face them. We see the nurturing provided to young who lose their mothers and the care given to those family members lost.
In smaller print, Smalls describes each action carried out by the herd and how these actions are woven together to create a family. These descriptions are more detailed, providing the reader with additional facts and information about the elephants. In this part of the story, the reader learns the intricacies of the herd and the dynamics behind the familial relationships.
Throughout the book, we follow the herd and are able to see and experience all the different characteristics that make these animals special. We learn what a matriarchal society is. We discover the responsibilities that rest on the shoulders of the older members of the herd and how those responsibilities are handled and shared.
Using drawings that are detailed and realistic, Shimokawara complements the story perfectly and helps to capture the heart of the elephants. The colors are subtle and soft. The illustrations keep the elephants as the primary focus while providing a picture of the places where the elephants roam.
Written for children in Pre K through First Grade, this book can easily be used for older students as it gives an abundance of information with excellent detail. As a home share, it is the kind of book parents can use to address family, caring for each other, and getting along.
Beautifully written and illustrated, this is a book that can be enjoyed more than once and used for a variety of lessons from science to social awareness.
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
My thanks to Familius for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.
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