Elephant in the Dark

by Mina Javaherbin, Illustrated By Eugene Yelchin

Scholastic Press
September 2015

Ages 4 – 8 . Grades PreK – 3

Library of Congress: 2013049691

Lexile measure: AD630L

DRA: 20

Guided Reading: L


When the villagers hear of a huge and mysterious creature that has come all the way from India, they steal into the dark barn to find out what it is.

"It's like a snake!" says one.
"It's like a tree trunk," says another.
"No, it's like a fan!" argues the third.

Who is right? Which of them knows the creature's true shape?

Mina Javaherbin's charming and witty retelling combined with Eugene Yelchin's refreshingly brilliant illustrations bring this enlightened classic, inspired by Rumi's poem, vividly to life.
Mina Javaherbin

Mina Javaherbin was born in Iran and immigrated to the U.S.A. long ago. She is fluent in both Persian and English. She now lives near a beach in Southern California with her husband and two children. This is her second picture book based on a poem by Rumi. Visit Mina at
Eugene Yelchin

Eugene Yelchin loves to create books that explore the boundaries of universal truth. He is the author and illustrator of the Newbery Honor book Breaking Stalin's Nose, as well as the illustrator of many distinguished, award-winning picture books. These include Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw, and Elephant in the Dark, retold by Mina Javaherbin. Born in Russia, Eugene now lives in Topanga, California, with his wife and their two children. Visit him at


  • Praise for Elephant in the Dark:

    "An amusing retelling." -- Booklist

    "The book should provide opportunities for rich discussions about perception and
    about advocating for what you believe to be true." -- Horn Book

    Praise for The Secret Message by Mina Javaherbin (illustrated by Bruce Whatley)

    "This handsome picture book's intriguing title will grab children, and they won't be disappointed with the twists in both story and message...Both the richly detailed scenes and story reversals will draw a young audience." --Booklist

    "After the first suspenseful reading, children should clamor for repeats." --Publishers Weekly

    Praise for Goal!by Mina Javaherbin (illustrated by A.G. Ford)

    "This heart-tugging picture book from a debut author tells a lyrical soccer story in the voice of a young boy in a South African shantytown." --Booklist

    Praise for Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin

    A Newbery Honor Book

    * "This brief novel gets at the heart of a society that asks its citizens, even its children, to report on relatives and friends. Appropriately menacing illustrations by first-time novelist Yelchin add a sinister tone." --The Horn Book, starred review

    "Yelchin's graphite illustrations are an effective complement to his prose, which unfurls in Sasha's steady, first-person voice, and together they tell an important tale." --Kirkus Reviews

    "Yelchin skillfully combines narrative with dramatic black-and-white illustrations to tell the story of life in the Soviet Union under Stalin." --School Library Journal



Jacketed Hardcover / Smyth

ISBN: 9780545636704

40pp. | 9 x 11