Don't Think About Purple Elephants

Written by Susan Whelan
Illustrated by Gwynneth Jones

For ages 3 to 5

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This book is best for:
  • action verbs
  • fear & anxiety
  • negatives
  • regular plurals
  • she/her


Sophie is your typical little girl. She loves drawing, reading books, baking cakes and helping in the garden. But Sophie has one little problem that makes it hard for her to get to sleep at night... She is a nighttime worrier. She worries about lots of things, like what if she forgets to take her lunch to school? Or what if mum cooks Brussels sprouts for dinner? Sophie’s family try to help her get to sleep, but nothing seems to work. Until her mum comes up with a very fun and silly idea to help keep the worries away - “don’t think about purple elephants!”

This is a delightful book to help children manage their feelings of fear and anxiety. The illustrations are whimsical and allow for further discussions beyond the text. The purple elephants and blue monkeys get up to lots of mischief in Sophie’s bedroom. These silly animals will get children excited about using action words to describe what the animals are doing, like reading, playing, swinging and more! Don’t skip past the end pages, showing some purple elephants, a blue monkey, as well as a red and yellow giraffe. This can be used as an opportunity for children to make inferences using the pictures as support: what animal might Sophie think about (or rather, not think about) tomorrow night?

Don’t Think About Purple Elephants is also a great choice for working on a range of grammatical goals. It can be used to model the pronouns ‘she’ and ‘her’ as these words are repeated many times throughout the book. This book can also be used to work on regular plurals - on some pages, there is only one elephant and on other pages, there are lots of elephants. For further speech and language targets in Don’t Think About Purple Elephants, see the list below.

Book Details

Narrative Structure: Complete Episode

Story Plot: Character Flaw

  • animals - african/zoo
  • anxiety
  • family
  • fear and anxiety
  • imagination
  • places - bedroom, home, school

Speech and Language Targets

Speech Sounds:
  • /n/ - no, nothing, night, dinner, morning, honey, fun, garden
  • /r/ - rode, read, worry, interesting, cereal, favourite, story
  • /r/ blends - friends, drew, drink, grass, brussels sprouts
  • /s/ - Sophie (character), lessons, Brussels sprouts, grass, kiss
  • voiced /th/ - the, then, that, they
  • unvoiced /th/ - think, thought, things, everything, without, with
  • /w/ - worry, weekdays, weekends, wash, without, woke up
  • adjectives
  • conjunctions (and)
  • copula (was)
  • negatives (no, not, don't, didn't, couldn't)
  • regular past tense
  • irregular past tense verbs (drew, rode, read, lay, thought, forgot, gave, woke)
  • plurals
  • possessive pronoun (her)
  • subjective pronoun (she)
  • action verbs
  • mental verbs (think, forget)
  • matching
  • labelling
  • describing
  • predicting
  • making inferences
  • what if...
  • temporal (morning, afternoon, day, night)
  • emotions (worry, anxiety, fear)
  • time
  • problem
  • plans
  • resolution
  • direct character speech
Book Info

Published by Exisle Publishing in 2015 (ISBN: 9781921966699)

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