Elephants Cannot Dance!

Citation: Willems, M. (2009). Elephants Cannot Elephants Cannot DanceDance! New York: Hyperion Books for Children.

Ages: 4 – 9

Grades: PreK – 2

Description:  In Elephants Cannot Dance! Piggie tries to teach Gerald how to dance.  Gerald is convinced that Elephants cannot dance, while Piggie is not. Gerald eventually tries to dance, and ends up doing the opposite of what Piggie instructs.

Uses:  Elephants Cannot Dance! is one of Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books that are ideal for beginning readers.  The book features Willems’ characteristic sparse images and text bubbles to tell the story.  Because the story is told through Elephant and Piggie speaking to each other, it is not the best choice for a traditional read-aloud during storytime. However, the plot would lend itself well to a storytime puppet show. Librarians and teachers can act out the story, and then invite children to dance. Librarians can even use the elephant prop as a way to engage students: librarians can instruct children to show elephant their best dance moves, or to teach elephant how to dance.  The book is also ideal for display because of the familiarity of Willems’ works. Familiarity with Willems’ works and style of writing will lead parents and children to be more comfortable checking out the work, and reading the get moving message.

Review Sources:

Elephants Cannot Dance!. (2009). Publishers Weekly, 256(20), 55.

Smith, R.L. (2009). Elephants Cannot Dance!. Horn Book Magazine, 85(4), 433 – 434.

Search Terms: elephants, pigs, dance

Published by

Faith Burns

Sch of Inform and Libr Science