Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Elephants On My Mind

This is my niece, Marina. She kindly provided this photograph taken
on a recent visit to Thailand. Here's Marina:
"We visited elephants outside of the town of Chiang Mai on an eco-reserve. There are two types of elephants in Thailand - domesticated and wild elephants. These elephants were not wild, and in fact wild elephants are not possible to command. One thing I learned that surprised me is the average life span of an elephant -- if I remember correctly, they live to 80 years old on average!
Riding on top of the elephant, it's immediately apparent just how much larger they are, proportionately. When several people ride on an elephant, their spinal chord protrudes and is quite large, about 3-6 inches in radius (if I had to take a guess); their 'hair' is thick and bristly; their ear holes very large; their skin of such great thickness that they can barely feel your touch as you grab the skin and climb along their leg to get to the head (i.e. your seat)... and yet despite their advantage in size, one also notices how slowly they trot! Perhaps it's all the weight which holds them down. "
 Elephants Trumpet by Pam Scheunemann, our curriculum tie-in this week, is a nonfiction early reader.  Here is a sample: "The elephant  is the biggest animal around. It can make a loud trumpeting sound."
For a fictional picture book on elephants, see Kai-Mook by Guido van Genechten about the birth of a baby elephant.

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