When is an umbrella not an umbrella? When it is a boat, or a tent, or a flying machine, of course! Jackie Azúa Kramer turns an umbrella into all of these things and more in The Green Umbrella.
Elephant is out for a walk with his green umbrella when he is stopped by a Hedgehog. The Hedgehog insists that the Elephant is carrying his boat. The Elephant tells him that he is mistaken, but offers to share his umbrella to keep the Hedgehog dry.
They meet a Cat, who declares that the umbrella is his tent. Again, the Elephant informs the Cat that he is mistaken, but offers to share his umbrella to keep the Cat dry.
The Elephant, the Hedgehog, and the Cat meet a Bear. The Bear claims the umbrella is his flying machine. Elephant replies that Bear is mistaken. But this time, instead of simply offering to share his umbrella, he shares all of the things that he imagined the umbrella to be when he was a child:
When I was a child I imagined I was a pirate and my umbrella was my sword.
I was a circus acrobat and my umbrella was the balancing pole.
I was a home run hitter and my umbrella was my bat.
The Green Umbrella is a book about imagination, but it is also about kindness. The Elephant shares his umbrella with each animal that stakes a claim on it, offering to keep them dry.
Even after the rain stops and the sun comes out, the Elephant’s kindness shines through. The animals run into an old Rabbit who believes the umbrella is his cane.
“I’m sure you’re mistaken,” sighed the Elephant. “This isn’t your cane. It’s my umbrella which has sheltered me from the rain and the sun.”
The Elephant noticed the old Rabbit wiping his brow from the sun’s heat.
“However, you’re welcome to share it and stay cool,” offered the Elephant opening his umbrella.
“That would be nice,” smiled the old Rabbit.
From these acts of kindness from the Elephant grows a friendship among all five animals—the Elephant, the Hedgehog, the Cat, the Bear, and the old Rabbit.
The Green Umbrella is a delightful tale starring my favorite animal (an elephant) and celebrating the beauty of imagination. I am always thrilled when I see my children using their imagination to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary in their daily play. This book is a charming example of that in storybook form.
The Green Umbrella is the first picture book for both author Jackie Azúa Kramer and illustrator Maral Sassouni. Ms. Sassouni used cut paper collage and painting to create the fun pictures throughout The Green Umbrella. An amazing inside look at how Ms. Sassouni created the pictures can be found in “A Chat With The Creators of the Green Umbrella” on Librarian’s Quest.
Ms. Kramer is online at www.jackieazuakramer.com. On her website, you can find information about her latest tour stops, as well as an activity sheet for The Green Umbrella.
Have you read any great books lately?