Do you know what a heffalump is? If you've ever read any of the Winnie the Pooh stories by A A Milne you'll know that a heffalump is an elephant. It's A A Milne's idea of the word a child would use if they couldn't quite say elephant! (According to my mother, my first word was elephant!) If you've never read the Winnie the Pooh children's books, I can highly recommend them. They are easy, funny and sometimes you can discover much deeper, hidden messages. They are about a bear called Pooh and his friends Piglet, Tigger, Eeyore, Christopher Robin and Owl and their adventures in One Hundred Acre Wood. Anyway, back to heffalumps: the heffalumps appear in the books when Pooh is trying to get to sleep and counts imaginary heffalumps jumping gates: you can see an illustrationhere.
So, why am I writing about elephants? Well, it's because I saw two in London this morning! Honestly. One was in the window of a bank and one was outside India House. And I don't mean a toy elephant. These baby elephants are life-sized and are raising money for a good cause.
Do you like them? This is the elephant is outside India House:
And this is the elephant standing in the bank - it's covered in crystals and sparkles in the sunshine!
They are all part of the Elephant Parade. It's a very clever way to raise money for charity. In this case the money raised by these elephants is going to help save the endangered Asian elephant. There are over 250 elephants around London - they've been decorated by artists and celebrities and they form a sort of giant outdoor art exhibition. They are on display until June and at the beginning of July there will be a grand auction where anyone can bid to buy one of the elephants. Perhaps you would like one in your back garden? London has had similar "parades" before. In 2002 there was a CowParade which raised over £350,000 for the children's charity Childline.
You can find out more about the elephant parade here. I also thought you might like to challenge me to go and find and photograph some of the elephants? I can't promise to find all 257 (after all, I have to be in the office sometime!) - but I'll try and find at least some of them. The elephants pictured above are nos.: 33 and 226. So which other elephants would you like me to find?
first word : the first word a small child learns to say
a good cause: an organisation that provides help or benefit to people who need it e.g. a charity
auction: a public sale where goods are sold to the person who offers the highest price
bid : to offer to pay a particular amount of money to buy something
to challenge someone to do something:to set someone a task
Nos: abbreviation of the word "numbers"