Elmer Elevator braves Wild Island to save an overworked baby dragon in Ruth Gannett's clever and humorous 1948 adventure. A talking alley cat persuades Elmer to undertake a journey to a dangerous island. He packs wisely: filling his father's knapsack with chewing gum, two dozen pink lollipops, a handful of rubber bands, a pair of black rubber boots, a compass, a toothbrush, six magnifying glasses, a very sharp jackknife, a comb and a hairbrush, seven hair ribbons of different colors, an empty grain bag with a label saying "Cranberry," some clean clothes, and twenty-five peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Elmer hides on a ship for six days until he reaches a port city where the natives are almost too scared to give him directions for the rest of his journey. Fearless, Elmer continues on his mission anyway, and soon finds himself on the most amazing —and untamed —island on Earth.
Each of the items Elmer packed comes in handy at just the right moment, sometimes with hilarious results, as he outwits the mean and hungry wild animals that stand in his way. Illustrated by Gannett's stepmother Ruth Chrisman Gannett, kids will pore over the lithographed pages and want this clever read-aloud to be told again and again. Have your kids come up with more items for Elmer's pack, and more dangers to solve with them. Make travel brochures for Wild Island, highlighting the different forms of travel brought up in the book. Follow the book with its two sequels, Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland.
Reviewed by CH.
Themes: FANTASY. ANIMALS.
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2008
Suggested Ages: 4 and Up