PPBF: Elmore

Today I'm excited because I've found a picture book so special that
 I'm coming out of my self-imposed PPBF retirement to showcase it.

Title: Elmore
Author and Illustrator: Holly Hobbie
Publisher: Random House Books For Young Readers
Birthday: January 30, 2018
Suitable for ages: 3-7 (and up!)
Themes: Making friends, celebrating differences, writing 
Opening page: 
Elmore lived by himself in an ancient maple tree. He loved it there.
Brief Synopsis: Elmore is a precious little porcupine who doesn't mind living alone, but the loneliness he feels ultimately finds him desperate to find some friends. Because he's so prickly, however, the other animals are kept at quill's length. Will he find a way to invite them into his world despite their differences?


Read reviews {here} and {here}
Check out the Publisher's website {here}

Why I like this book: So many reasons! First, it was a gift from my friend Heather Elmore, the counselor at Westwood Elementary. I spotted it a few weeks back when I visited her (in my old office) and fell instantly in love. As I was thumbing through the pages of her namesake treasure, falling deeper with every turn, she got online and ordered it right there for me. 

Second, the charming illustrations absolutely reeled me in.

Third, Elmore doesn't wallow in his problem; instead, he takes steps to creatively solve it. I absolutely love that he uses the power of the pen to create a Friends Wanted sign and ultimately find those friends by sharing a bit of himself in a creative twist.

Set up the story with the Folkmanis porcupine puppet;
click the image below to order one just like ours.

If your students are like mine,
they will adore with this spikey little guy.
Talk with them about what it might feel like to be prickly ...

or what it means to needle someone.

Dig into the rich text and find other unique vocabulary words
that students could illustrate and/or discuss.
Why does the author call Elmore's home an ancient tree
Is there a play on words when she tucks him into his snug hollow?
Does solitude always equal boring?
When is the last time you felt all tuckered out?

In the story, Elmore recalls that his mom told him that the L in his name stands for love. Ask your students to buddy buzz with a partner and share what they know about how they got their names.

Use Elmore's writing idea as a springboard for unleashing the power of the pen. You might even seek out another class either in your school or beyond your school's walls to invite them to be PenPals.

Consider this example from a fourth-grade superhero
who understands the power of the pen
and uses it so eloquently.

On my first day back after a week of being out of the office caring for my Dad, one of my friends seeks me out before school and hands me this beautiful treasure for my Smile File, folded up like a fan and sealed in a Ziploc baggie. Is that not the most beautiful gift? Pull out a note that someone wrote to you, read it aloud, and ask students how they think it made you feel. Invite them to share a time that they've used their words to step into someone's story, uplift them just a little, and change the direction of their day. Encourage them to write or draw something for someone to make an ordinary day extraordinary,
like the note you share did for you, 
like Miah's note did for me,
like the note that Elmore found tacked to his cozy dwelling 
at the end of this tale 
did for him.

Finally, research to find out all that you can about porcupines.
Are they social or solitary?
Are they nocturnal?
What do they eat?
Do they have predators?
Compare and contrast what you discover about real porcupines
with how the author portrays the fictional Elmore.

Check out this incredible newcomer; 
I predict you'll truly treasure this Holly Hobbie masterpiece.  


  1. Thank you for coming out of "retirement." This is truly a special book. I look forward reading it. It's popular, I'm #18 in the holds list. But at least they have 15 copies! Thanks again.

  2. This is a beautiful share. Thank you for telling me in advance. I plan to order it. I like how you used the book to talk about kindness and our actions towards others. Am I prickly will really start a discussion. So happy to see you hear today.

  3. Oh - another book I gotta read! This looks so precious. Thanks for sharing it.

  4. How wonderful to see my newest favorite picture books reviewed for PPBF. I just found this book at my library last week and fell in love with it on the spot. Yes, this book is well worth coming out of retirement for.


I really enjoy hearing from my readers; thanks for sharing your reflections with us!