Rumi’s poem The Blind Men and the Elephant has been retold and transformed over time to emphasize many lessons: getting the whole story, defining truth, not being nosey, understanding points of view amongst others. The basic story is that each person touches a part of the elephant in the dark and cannot fathom each other’s perspectives or what an elephant is, thus they take to bickering and proving that they and they alone are right.
A big fan of the Karen Beckstein early reader version, that involves 6 blind men and is presented on a 2.6 level I was skeptical of this 32 page AR level 3.0 version. The bright pictures and large picture format quickly won me over. This book works so well for story time as the kids all know what an elephant looks like, they can all understand how the people are getting confused and all can see how their arguing isn’t helping. All without much adult prompting. The kids get so annoyed by the villagers not respecting Ahmad’s personal property and not listening to one another that when the illustrator has the children being the smart ones and enjoying the elephant at the end, the reader/listeners are giggling and feel like they are “in” on the truth.
one translated version: