Advanced Search

Add Best Comp

Add comparable title

Remove comparable title

Orca SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) RESPECT through July 2023

Elephants Do Not Belong in Trees
By (author): Russ Willms
Russ Willms


Orca Book Publishers - Victoria



Product Form:


Form detail:

Picture book, Sewn, Paper over boards
Hardcover , Picture book, Sewn, Paper over boards


Juvenile: Age (years) 3 - 5, Grade (CAN) P - K, Grade (US) P - K, Reading age 3 - 5
Feb 16, 2021
Print Run: 5000
$19.95 CAD


10.75in x 7.75 x 0.38 in | 850 gr

Page Count:

32 pages


21 Colour illustrations
FSC certified – mixed sources C013314
Orca Book Publishers
JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Elephants
Children’s picture books|Children’s / Teenage fiction: Nature and animal stories|Children’s / Teenage fiction: Humorous stories|Children’s / Teenage general interest: Large land mammals|Children’s / Teenage personal and social topics: Diversity, equality and inclusion|Interest age: from c 3 years
BC Books for BC Schools 2021, Commended
  • Short Description
In this delightful picture book an elephant takes up roost in a tree, upsetting the other animals living there. But the elephant helps save the day when a bulldozer comes along to chop the tree down.
A savannah, yes. A jungle, sure. A TREE?! Most certainly not.

"Elephants do not belong in trees. It’s not natural. It makes other animals uncomfortable."

This is the story of Larry, an elephant who wanted to live in a tree. This is a story about being the new kid and being a little bit different (okay, A LOT different). A story about acceptance and making friends. When Larry decides he wants to live in the big bushy tree in the middle of the wide-open field, the current residents, Bird, Squirrel and Monkey, are not very welcoming. They throw nuts at him and peck at his head; they tell him to leave and are downright rude. But Larry persists—why can’t he live in the tree? When his new home is threatened by something much bigger than all the animals combined, Larry shows everyone that he cares just as much about the tree as they do.

Key Selling Points

  • When a bulldozer comes along to knock the tree down, Larry is able to save the tree and the animals realize that having an elephant for a neighbor is actually pretty handy.
  • A story about being different and finding acceptance and strength in your differences.
  • This is a silly and sweet story with a subtly serious message. The text has lots of playful sounds and strong page turns. Willms uses onomatopoeia (words that sound like the word, e.g., boing, vroom) throughout the text.
  • The author is well-known for his career in magazine and ad design and has a picture book called Sleigh Pullers Wanted due out in Fall 2021 with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  • Perfect for Mo Willems fans!
  • Willms is working on a second book with Orca for Fall 2021 about a noisy giraffe.

Russ Willms has always had a passion for art and fun. His work as an illustrator has been featured in hundreds of magazines, books and ad campaigns throughout the world. He is the author and illustrator of Quiet, Please!, Elephants Do Not Belong in Trees and Who Will Pull Santa's Sleight?. He is also the illustrator of the Mr. Christie Book Award Gold–winning and Governor General's Award finalist Brewster Rooster. Russ lives in Victoria, British Columbia.

Marketing and Promotional Plans

  • Print and online advertising campaigns
  • Promotion at national and regional school, library and trade conferences
  • Extensive ARC distribution, including NetGalley
  • Blog and social media promotion
  • Outreach in Orca newsletters

“A giggle-inducing story about acceptance and turning the tables on expectations...Wry humor with a bouncy beat: a treat for storytimes.” - Kirkus Reviews

“Young children will enjoy the author’s use of onomatopoeia throughout the book and the text which uses a variety of bolded and highlighted words for emphasis…A delightful book to read to children or for some young readers to read alone.” - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

“This quirky, humorous story will delight young children and invite discussion on acceptance.” - School Library Journal

“Step into the theater of the absurd!…The illustrations are bright and engaging — who can not laugh at a purple elephant sitting in a tree?” - Kiss the Book blog

of 86

Also Available

Dear Polar Bears Gabrielle Prendergast 9781459833005 $21.95 CAD Feb 14, 2023
Quiet, Please! Russ Willms 9781459826021 $21.95 CAD Apr 12, 2022

Forgotten Password

Please enter your email address and click submit. An email with instructions on resetting your password will be sent to you.

Forgotten Password

An email has been sent out with instructions for resetting your password.