Don’t Think About Purple Elephants by Susan Whelan
Published by EK Books
Susan Whelan’s debut picture book, Don't Think About Purple Elephants introduces us to the beautiful Sophie, a self-confessed worrier.
From the opening pages of purple performing elephants floating across the pages, we find Sophie climbing high in the tree outside her bedroom window.
Sophie loved going to school. During lessons, she would listen to her teacher. She enjoyed getting sticky creating masterpieces during art and being silly with friends at lunchtime. Without a care in the world, Sophie coloured and read her favourite books. She gardened with Mum and Dad and watched the clouds drift by as she lay amongst the soft, cool grass. But it was during Sophie’s quiet time when she was tucked into bed that dark clouds began to circle and worrying thoughts crept in.
Only little things at first like, what if they ran out of milk and she couldn’t have cereal for breakfast or her favourite shirt was still in the wash and she had nothing to wear.
Perhaps she could forget her lunch and be left hungry at school or if Mum cooked her worst nightmare for dinner, BRUSSEL SPROUTS! What would she do?
Sophie found all these worries kept her awake. Her family pitched in to help. Her brother shared his favourite bedtime book and Sophie’s sister loaned her her bestest teddy but this only made Sophie worry more. What if Emily couldn’t sleep without her teddy and the cover of Oliver’s favourite book was just too worrisome. Dad suggested warm milk but what if the bathroom called during the night. It was Mum’s suggestion that was the craziest of all. ‘Go to bed, close your eyes and DON’T think about purple elephants.’
Sophie went to bed and closed her eyes. She tried not to think about purple elephants but that’s all she could think about. First one, then two, then lots of elephants filled her thoughts. Each one funnier, sillier and more acrobatic than the last.
Susan Whelan addresses those little worries thoughtfully with a message guaranteed to resonate with parents coping with children with anxiety issues.
I was excited to see Creative Kids Tales emerging illustrator, Gwynneth Jones’s illustrations. The bursts of colour and then dark and white images helps with the natural flow of the story. Beautifully expressing Sophie’s changing body language when those troublesome thoughts take over. From to the concerned look as she gently returns her sister’s teddy to Sophie’s twisted figure standing in the river of spilled milk. Gwynneth Jones whimsical illustrations compliment Susan’s caring subtle message.
I'll be trying not to think purple elephants when I go to sleep tonight or blue monkeys or pink giraffes.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: Susan Whelan
Illustrator: Gwynneth Jones
Title: Don't Think About Purple Elephants
Publisher: EK Books
Published: April 2015