Main Character Pattern

The main character pattern may not seem like a language pattern. This pattern is contained in a story, which also has the chronological events, but the main character pattern is a something to point out.

In the book, Cornelius, the main character is Cornelius. In another book, Tillie and the Wall, the main character is Tillie. We experience the events in the story by looking through the eyes of the main character, or in this case, Tillie.

Another is Beaky. All these main characters, because they each are part of a story, they have a problem. Children are learning that when we have a character, we are likely to have a story, because every good story has a problem.

The character is going to go through a problem, find a solution, and experience a resolution. We can also talk about the themes that are in the text that are illustrated through the main character.

One I want to point out is in Elmer. Every good story has a problem. Characters have a problem. So Elmer is going to have a problem.

There was once a herd of elephants. Elephants young. Elephants old. Elephants tall and short. Fat and thin. All were different. But all were happy and all were almost the same color.

All except, Elmer. Elmer was not elephant color. He was patchwork. Elmer was yellow and orange and red and pink and purple and blue and green and black and white.

So with the younger children, point out the color words. Point and identify the colors as you read them. Say yellow and point out the yellow.

It was Elmer who kept the other elephants happy. Their games and jokes were always his idea. If an elephant was laughing, the cause was usually Elmer. We are reading a little about Elmer’s personality and character traits.

But Elmer himself was not happy. Whoever heard of a patchwork elephant, he thought. No wonder they laugh at me.

One morning just as the others were waking up Elmer slipped away. So, Elmer has a problem.

Now this is a great place in the story to predict. “What do you think Elmer is going to do?” He’s leaving. Where is he going to go?

What would you do? Is that what you should do? You should leave if you have a problem?

This book has the problem-solving pattern.

As he walked through the jungle Elmer met other animals. Good morning Elmer they said. After a long walk, Elmer found what he was looking for. A large bush covered with elephant colored berries.

Elmer caught hold of the bush and shook it until the berries fell on the ground. Then Elmer laid down and rolled all over the berries. This way and that. He picked up bunches of berries and rubbed them all over until he was covered with berry juice.

When he had finished there wasn’t a sign of any yellow or orange or red or pink of purple or blue or green or black or white.

Elmer looked like any other elephant.

Now do you think he solved his problem?

On his way back through the jungle, Elmer passed the other animals. Good morning elephant, they said. Did they recognize Elmer?

When Elmer rejoined the herd none of the other elephants noticed him. No, he is used to a lot of attention.

As he stood there, Elmer felt that something was wrong. He looked around. Same old jungle. Same old blue sky. Same old rain cloud. Same old elephants.

So what’s going to happen?

The other elephants were standing absolutely still. Silent and serious. Elmer had never seen them to serious before. It made him want to laugh.

Finally, he could bear it no longer. He lifted his trunk and at the top of his voice shouted, “Boo!”

Now what’s going to happen?

Well the other elephants jumped in surprise. Elmer was hopeless with laughter. Then the other elephants began to laugh.

Too bad Elmer isn’t here to share the fun, they said. Laughing harder and harder.

Sounds like they miss him.

And then the rain cloud burst.

Now there is clue here on the page about what’s going to happen because of that rain. You can talk about that.

When the rain fell on Elmer his patchwork began to show again. “Oh, Elmer! Gasped an old elephant as Elmer was washed back to normal.

You played some good jokes, but this has been the biggest laugh of all. What would we do without you?

We must celebrate the day every year, said another. The day of Elmer’s best joke. All of us elephants will decorate ourselves in his honor, said a third, and Elmer will decorate himself elephant color.

And one day each year the elephants color themselves yellow or orange or red or pink or purple or blue or green or black or white and have a parade.

If you happen to see an elephant in the Elmer’s Day Parade who is ordinary elephant color, you will know it must be, that’s right, Elmer.

There are great things in this book to talk about. Main character, the problem, how it was solved, how the main character felt before and after. There are a lot of things to do with the text, Elmer. It’s a picture book and good to use for many different ages.

Main Character Pattern Video