When the delicious smell
of the baking blueberry pie
stole out from the oven,
the little elf sniffed.
He wanted that blueberry pie so much
that he almost got his nose caught
in the oven door.
Elmer is a house elf after my own heart! I too truly love blueberry pie, dear Elmer. I understand.
At last the pie was done.
The people ate some for supper.
Elmer watched every mouthful,
and his mouth watered.
The people left the rest of the pie
on the kitchen table.
And as soon as they went to bed,
the elf, who couldn’t wait one more minute,
jumped right into that rich, melting,
juicy, delicious, fruity blueberry pie,
and ate till his elfin stomach bulged!
Originally published in 1961, this winsome picture book has a certain innocence not often found in picture books of today. Elmer is well-mannered, helpful, and motivated to find a way to communicate his love of blueberry pie so the people he lives with will bake another one for him to enjoy.
In an effort to be noticed by his housemates, Thumbelina-sized Elmer helps with the dishes, makes the beds, and sweeps the floors. While the people do notice the work Elmer is doing, they have no idea who to thank. Poor Elmer is out of ideas. Until he comes up with an ingenious solution.
Illustrated by Seymour Fleishman, the same illustrator of The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read (our review of this gem is coming soon), this tri-color picture book has a 1950s feel and a winning simplicity. I love illustration like this; I love it when the illustrator gives us a sketch but allows us to imagine the details. Fleishman captures the playfulness of the story perfectly in the way that he arranges Elmer in teacups and next to salt and pepper shakers.
Much to my delight, I own the Purple House Press reprint of this children’s classic. I love old books. In this case, however, I particularly love the PHP version. As usual, the quality of the printing is exceptional. The size is inviting, the pages are soft, the cover is sturdy, and the color balancing is beautiful. I found that I prefered the illustration in this edition to older printings that I have seen online which are more yellowish and blurry. This is a treasure which would make a lovely baby shower or birthday gift. My children have stolen this from my pile more than once so they can pore over it in bed at night – it is irresistibly charming.