Elmer and Wilbur

Age Range: 5 - 11

Elmer loves practical jokes, but so does his cousin Wilbur. Until, that is, Elmer has an idea which brings Wilbur back down to earth, in more ways than one...

Book Author: David McKee

See More Books from this author

Teaching Ideas and Resources:


  • The story includes lots of speech marks. Can you write a sentence / paragraph that includes speech and uses the correct punctuation?
  • Write the story that explains how Wilbur got up the tree in the first place.
  • Write a story about a new adventure that Elmer and Wilbur have the day after the story ends.
  • Think of vocabulary that can be used to describe an elephant.


  • Look at the illustration of Elmer and Wilbur on the front cover. Can you draw a symmetrical picture that features elephants and / or other animals?
  • Wilbur walks along a tree branch which bends down towards the ground. Think about the angles that the tree might bend at.
  • Find out how heavy an elephant is.
  • Elmer and Wilbur's skin is covered in lots of tessellating squares. Can you design your own tessellating patterns (using colour and / or black and white)?
  • Plan a tea party for the elephants. What things would you need to put on a shopping list for the party? How much might this cost? How many of each item would you need if 5/10/15 elephants were going to be there?


  • One of the elephants sees his reflection in the pond. What does 'reflection' mean? Can you investigate how light is reflected?
  • Write a report about one of the animals featured in the story.
  • Think about the forces that are taking place when Wilbur walks along the branch of the tree and reaches the ground.


  • Wilbur is a ventriloquist. Can you record your own voice and pretend to be different people / animals?
  • Use a painting program to decorate the elephant image?(see Resources below).

Design Technology

  • Make a model of the jungle and the different animals that live there (including Elmer).
  • Design a machine / object that can help Wilbur come out of the tree.


  • Look at all of the colours (and different shades of the same colours) in the illustrations. Can you mix paint (or other art materials) to make different colours and shades? Could you make your own book illustration using these?
  • The illustrations show lots of different types of trees. Can you draw your own unusual trees? Could you work with a friend to create a jungle full of weird and wonderful trees?
  • Decorate the elephant outline picture.(see Resources below).
  • Make your own elephant mask.(see Resources below).


  • Elmer things that Wilbur might be lost at the start of the story. Draw a map to help Wilbur find where Elmer lives.
  • Look on a map and identify places where elephants might live in the wild.
  • Find the location of zoos in your local area that have elephants there. Can you play a visit to see them?

Physical education

  • The elephants like to play 'hide and seek'. Can you think of other physical activities that elephants might be able to play.


  • Elmer and Wilbur are cousins. Think about the different family members that different families have. Could you draw a family tree showing the people in your family?
  • Wilbur likes to play tricks on people. Why isn't this a very nice thing to do?


Elephant Colouring Page

Elephant Colouring Page

Print and colour this cute elephant!

Elephant Face Template

Elephant Face Template

Colour this image on screen using painting software.

Elephant Mask Template

Elephant Mask Template

Print, colour and cut out this mask template.


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