Our Overall rating: 4.5
sold gold rating starsold gold rating starsold gold rating starsold gold rating star1/2 gold rating star more...

Ellison The Elephant

March 6, 2012

By: Carisa Kluver

The Digital Media Diet

Ellison works hard to find his 'voice' ...

"He was a young and little elephant, but not a baby elephant," begins this inspirational picture book, now available in digital from Oceanhouse Media. Based on the popular 2005 print title by Eric Drachman, Ellison the Elephant is the kind of storybook that has all the trappings of an instant classic. It's about an elephant named Ellison, who is having trouble finding his trumpet song. All he can manage is a little 'toot'.

Of course, not only does little Ellison find his voice, but he also discovers that he is actually special, not 'less than' the other elephants. This is the real genius of Drachman stories, like Leo the Lightning Bug & A Frog Thing; they emphasize the ways in which an underdog can become the hero, usually through patience, perserverance and believing in themselves. These wonderful books make teaching the value of personal character much easier for parents & educators.

Ultimately, this app does well because it features a well-crafted story and expressive original illustrations. It is also delightfully narrated, although the child voice-over for Ellison's dialogue sacrificies understandability for cuteness at times. Text highlights word-for-word with the polished voice-over, plus you can tap on any word to hear it again (or touch and hold over the text to hear it re-read). These features, common in omBooks from Oceanhouse Media, are great for reinforcing word recognition in young learner readers.

This title doesn't have any animation, although pages do pan in and out over the delightful illustrations, making for a semi-animated feel to the app. Images are only lightly interactive, with a few sound effects sprinkled throughout the pages. Settings are adequate, although a page guide would be a useful addition. Overall this is a great title for shared storytelling, either for classrooms, bedtime reading or anytime you want to please multiple children. Highly recommended!

[Extra: Here's a great interview with the author on the Oceanhouse Media Blog.]

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


Continue to star ratings »»

Your Vote

Back to Top

Ellison The Elephant

March 6, 2012

By: Carisa Kluver

Continue to story synopsis »»

Back to Top

Eric Drachman/James Muscarello

Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Length (time):
14 - 16 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: Yes

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 4 - 10

English •

Length (pages):
70 Pages


Story Synopsis - Ellison The Elephant

Ellison is a young elephant who is frustrated when he tries to make a trumpet sound like all the other elephants. Somehow he only can manage a little 'toot'. His mom reassures him that if he is patient, someday, all the other elephants will want to sound like him ... that Ellison is not ordinary but extraordinary. Ellison is teased because he cannot make a loud trumpet sound like all the others. They call him names, like "Smellison" and "Tootie" ...

One day Ellison meets a little weasel, who encourages him to explore the range of sounds he can make, adjusting the pitch and length of his utterances. Soon the sounds Ellison can make are not only pleasing, but downright jazzy. In the end, all the elphants dance in celebration of Ellison's amazing sound. Ellison isn't ordinary afterall ... he really is extraordinary!


Continue to screen shots »»

Back to Top

Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Read to Me, Read Myself, AutoPlay, Home, News On/Off, Sound On/Off, Links to: AppStore, Twitter, Facebook, Email, Web

App Release Date:


Size: 19.38 MB

Version: 1.0.8

Lite Version Available: No



Ellison The Elephant

Continue to videos »»

Back to Top

Other Apps from Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Back to Top

Other Apps with similar ratings.

Back to Top

If you know of another version not listed here please let us know

iTunes Link: Kind of Version: Your e-mail(optional): You Name(optional):

Videos - Ellison The Elephant

Back to Top