Small One's Adventure
Author: Doris L. Mueller; Illustrator: Parker Fulton
Pages: 32 pages
Publisher/Date: All About Kids Publishing/June 2003
ISBN: 0971027811
Age Levels: 5 and up

Book Review

Small One, the youngest elephant in the herd, is eager to grow up. As the animals make their way to a watering hole, Small One thinks about playing in the mud and using her trunk to squirt water in her mouth.

When they finally reach the mud hole, Small One delights in covering herself in a layer of mud. She pretends not to hear mother's warning to be careful. "I'm big! I don't have to stay close to my mother all the time," she trumpets.

When time comes to leave, Small One is determined to climb out on her own but has trouble. She slips and slides and begins to panic. Her mother and aunties come to her aid, pulling her up and out of the mud. As she takes her place "among the tall gray legs," Small One realizes that she's "not quite ready to be big."

This tender tale captures perfectly the emotions of young ones wanting to be independent and grow up quickly. The double-paged, realistic illustrations, done in warm earth tones, depict Small One's world under the African sun.

Classroom Experiences: In addition to an independent read-alone, this also makes an excellent read-aloud. While reviewing the book, we took it into two classrooms. In the first, we used it as a "discussion starter" for the topic of "growing up" with a group of first graders. The students identified with Small One and made wonderful text-to-self connections. In the second classroom, we used it to extend and enrich a third grade social studies unit on Africa, again with great success.

Reviewed by the teachers at Education Oasis
©2003 Education Oasis

About the Author

In addition to writing for children, Doris Mueller enjoys reading, hiking, and traveling. On one of her trips to Africa, she had the opportunity to observe the young elephant calf whose actions formed the basis for this story. A semi-retired college professor, Dr. Mueller teaches creative writing classes at a local community college and serves as a substitute teacher in special education classrooms. Her articles, stories, and poems have appeared in numerous children's periodicals. This is her first picture book. She lives in suburban St. Louis with her husband and miniature dachshund named Pedro.

About the Illustrator

Parker Fulton's love of animals and her familiarity with elephants combine to enhance her illustrations for Small One's Adventure. As a self-taught artist and calligrapher, she has been illustrating wildlife for many years, in part due to her deep concern for their welfare. Residing on beautiful Gibson Island in Maryland, Parker paints to her heart's content with the relaxing view of Otter Pond in her back yard.