Additional Book Information

Series: The New York Review Children's Collection
Pages: 40
Publication Date: March 10, 2015

The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars

by Jean Merrill, illustrated by Ronni Solbert

$11.96 $14.95


What is your favorite thing to do in the whole world? Whatever it is, odds are that you don’t like doing it as much as the elephant in this book enjoys smashing small cars. He’ll smash any small car that drives down his road. He smashes yellow cars, he smashes blue cars, he smashes red cars, all the while singing a special car-smashing song. Then one day a man comes to town and opens a small-car store right on the elephant’s road. You can probably guess what the elephant does next, but the real fun starts when the man turns the tables on the elephant—and his plan is a smashing success.

Jean Merrill’s story of gleeful destruction, revenge, and conciliation is accompanied by Ronni Solbert’s colorful crayon drawings. Rarely has property damage looked so adorable.

by Jean Merrill, illustrated by Ronni Solbert


This bare-bones story is as mischievous and subversive as all get-out, and it makes me laugh. It's just what the title tells you: An elephant, who is way into the destruction of public property, learns his lesson when he meets a car salesman who won't put up with it. The spare crayon drawings and make-no-apologies story of destruction (what toddler doesn't like to smash things?) is unlike anything else you'll see this year, most likely—and was quite possibly unlike anything else seen back in 1964.
— Julie Danielson, Kirkus

What is wonderful about this reissue – the book was first published nearly 50 years ago – is that it plays along merrily with a child’s need to smash, squash and exterminate.
The Guardian

From bubble wrap to bugs, the urge to smash and smush seems to be a part of the human condition. Just think of that group of four-year-olds building towers of blocks and then merrily knocking them down. Or those older kids bashing into each other during recess. Here's a wonderfully subversive little book that captures the joy of that impulse and highlights the results. A perfect read aloud for all ages.
—Monica Edinger, author of Africa Is My Home and proprietor of the blog Educating Alice

The greatest title in the history of book selling. Plus: a song.
—Tom Nissley, owner of Phinney Books, Seattle