Strictly No Elephants

Paula Wiseman Books/S&S (2015)

Illustrated by the award-winning Taeeun Yoo.

Because that's what friends do.

Today is Pet Club Day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn't understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend.

Word Around Town


"A sunny, smart, tongue-in-cheek tale." — The New York Times


"In her first picture book, Mantchev (Ticker) examines true friendship, sprinkling observations about the behavior of boy and elephant throughout ... Yoo’s (Hands Say Love) linoleum block prints of brick buildings and quiet sidewalks have the softness and warmth of a favorite blanket. It’s a message book about exclusion with an oh-so-gentle lead-in for discussion." — Publishers Weekly


"The first-person narrative has a quiet, contemplative feel... The Caucasian boy, his pet (in matching red scarves), and a little African-American girl in cornrows and a red-and-orange striped dress are the bright spots in this poignant tableau... Observant children will spot a porcupine, penguin, and giraffe peering from brownstone windows along the way; they and their children join others with equally exotic pets. Yoo’s concluding scenes depict a treehouse occupation (its restrictive message changed to “ALL ARE WELCOME”) and multiethnic, multispecies harmony. Sweet and affirming." — Kirkus


"With a gentle message of inclusion and helping others, this title reaches beyond a mere friendship story. A solid general purchase for libraries and classrooms." — School Library Journal


"Few books broach the subject of diversity as thoughtfully as Strictly No Elephants." — Slate.com

  • Washington State Book Award Finalist
  • NCTE Charlotte Huck Outstanding Fiction Honor Title
  • Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year Selection Title
  • CBC Children's Choice Book Award Finalist
  • Cybils Fiction Picture Book Award Finalist
  • CCBC Choices (Cooperative Children's Book Council)
  • Kansas State Reading Circle List Primary Title
  • Huffington Post Honor Book for Best in Kindness
  • French edition endorsed by Amnesty International for February/March 2016 as one of five "publications jeunesse soutenues par Amnesty International sur la tolérance, la liberté d’expression, contre les stéréotypes."
  • French edition named to the Liste préliminaire du Prix Jeunesse des libraires du Québec 2017
  • NNSTOY Social Justice Book List, 2017 (National Network of State Teachers of the Year)
  • Featured on Season 2 of Yétili
  • Selection for the "Social Justice Begins With Me" Grand Rapids Library book club
  • Hawaii State Public Library staff pick for grades 1-3
  • State of Delaware 2019 Read Across America selection
  • Georgia Children's Picture Book Award Nominee
  • Foreign rights sold to France, Japan, China, Taiwan, Spain (Spanish and Catalan,) Italy, Belgium (Flemish,) Korea, Portugal, Germany, Israel, Slovenia, Vietnam, and Brazil.
  • Over 100,000 copies in print!


  • Enjoy the adorable, animated book trailer for the Taiwan edition, published by San Min Book Co.!