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Elephants, tigers and bears*, Oh my!

We have an elephant in the storeroom.

I have no idea where he came from, but for a long time I’ve had my eye on him. He moves around the room, one day standing guard over a pile of empty boxes, the next squashed in a corner with leftover art supplies. I’ve never actually seen him move, but…

Tucked into a box of oddities sits our battered old stuffed monkey, dropped in the street outside one day. Despite sitting in the window for several weeks, he has never been claimed.

Against the wall we have an old wardrobe full of Christmas decorations. Things appear and disappear with regularity here. We packed the Christmas tree away into the wardrobe with the decorations in January last year. By November, it had gone.

Yesterday, I opened my drawer to put away my bag, and found a pair of gloves I had never seen before. They don’t belong to Jacqui either, or to the plethora of Jacqson Diego staff and volunteers who have been into the Emporium over the past two days - the Engineer, the Artist, the Storyteller, the Chief Volunteer or the Sam. Like everything else that materialises at the Emporium, they will probably sit on a shelf for a few weeks, before getting relegated to a box of stuff in the storeroom. Of course if someone does want to claim them, they’ll have completely disappeared.

There is a clipboard that lives under the till. Last year it just disappeared. We pulled everything apart looking for it, but it had gone. Then one day, it was just there, back in place as though nothing had happened. No matter how many suspicious looks we gave, it just lay there innocently, keeping its secrets. This sort of thing happens far more frequently than we’d like. But anyway, this is all taking us away from the elephant.

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love picture books. (We will get to elephants, I promise). One of my favourite picture books published last year was ‘I Am A Tiger’ by Karl Newson, with illustrations by Ross Collins. It’s the tale of a fearless mouse, who tries to convince the other animals that he is, in fact, a tiger. But what happens when a real tiger turns up? This story is so much fun to read out loud and get the children to join in with, and I was thrilled when I found out that there would be a sequel. Well, the sequel, ‘I Am Not An Elephant’ (see, elephants, I told you!) was published last week, and I love it just as much.

Mouse returns, but now the other animals are convinced he is an elephant. Ross Collins illustrations are superb, and capture Mouse in all his feisty glory. The real elephant that appears is also a joy. This book is going to give me so much fun at Story Time, and I’m so looking forward to all the silly noises I’ll get to make (you have been warned!)

So, elephant will finally have a reason to join us in the Emporium as part of a display, which I hope will make him happy, I look forward to seeing what else will appear in the Emporium to perplex us, and I hope you all have a wonderful, book filled week.

*Oh yes, bears! Another wonderful picture book published last week was ‘Another Book About Bears’ by Laura and Philip Bunting. Did you ever wonder why there are just so many books about bears? Discover the grizzly truth in this gorgeous, funny tale, which I’m really looking forward to sharing.


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