Book details

Macmillan Children's Book

How to Be an Elephant

Author: Katherine Roy

How to Be an Elephant

How to Be an Elephant


About This Book

Foraging for food and water and fighting off predators are only a few of the many skills that these African elephants must learn. Thankfully, they have a large familial network to teach them everything they need to know about how to be an elephant. Award-winning author-illustrator Katherine Roy delves into these intricate family dynamics.
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Book Details

The savanna is not an easy place to live, even for African elephants, the largest land animals on earth. If it's a challenge for these 7,000-pound giants, what's it like for their newborn babies?

An infant elephant has precious little time to learn the incredible array of skills that are necessary to keep up, from projecting her voice across a 10-octave range to using the 100,000 muscles in her trunk to stay hydrated. But this giant-to-be has the perfect classroom--a family herd made up of her mother, sisters, cousins, and aunts. With their help and protection, she'll learn how to survive, how to thrive, and how to be an elephant.

Award-winning author-illustrator Katherine Roy's How to Be an Elephant delves into the intricate family dynamics at play in a typical African herd. Drawing upon the latest scientific research and Roy's own expedition to Kenya, and brimming with lush watercolor illustrations and detailed diagrams, this book vividly portrays the life and development of an elephant from an uncertain newborn into a majestic adult. As informative as it is beautiful, Roy's unique portrait of an elephant's life will captivate young explorers and animal lovers alike.

David Macaulay Studio

This title has Common Core connections.

A School Library Journal Best Book of 2017
A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of 2017
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of 2017

Imprint Publisher

David Macaulay Studio



Reading Guide

In The News

"The energetic illustrations are whimsical on one page, scientifically precise on the next . . . Roy reels you in with startling facts, then shows how a dominant species is really vulnerable, dependent on humans to choose to practice conservation." —New York Times Book Review

"Exceptional and arresting... Roy holds readers' attention with her approachable writing style and astonishing statistics."—Booklist, starred review

"A must-have."—School Library Journal, starred review

“Masterful.” —Horn Book, starred review

“Immersive illustrations and careful attention to detail in both the text and art combine to create a rewarding study of a remarkable animal.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

About the Creators

How to Be an Elephant

How to Be an Elephant