Friday, August 12, 2022

Let's all Trumpet for Joy

Today (Aug. 12th) is World Elephant Day!  Because everyone in the world loves elephants!  Well, maybe not everyone.  But a lot of people love elephants.  Because they are awesome.  They are also big, and strong, and wild.  So like with most big, strong, wild animals I tend to keep my distance.  I don't care how 'tame' you say they are.  So, although I like elephants and really do believe they are awesome, I don't think I would want one living in my back yard.

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

(from the back of the book) The bombing of Dresden looms ahead and Lizzie's mother, a zookeeper, persuades the zoo director to allow Marlene, a young elephant that has bonded with Lizzie and her younger brother, Karl, to be kept safe in their garden.

Their home is destroyed when bombs are dropped, so the family and Marlene have no choice but to flee with thousands of others in the dead of winter.  Though how can they walk the same route and keep themselves safe from approaching Russian soldiers...with an elephant in tow?

The story is sad, and sweet, and hopeful.  Lizzy, her brother Karli and their mother are trying to live their life with war looming.  Without knowing if their father is dead or alive; without knowing if they will be bombed today or not.  And then there is Marlene, a young elephant they are determined to save.  How do you go on when all that you have ever known is in flames?  The reader comes to love this family (that now includes an elephant) as they pull together to survive.  As they flee from the flames that was once their home, they see how hard times bring out the worst, but also the best in people.  When they meet a young RAF pilot they realize that the enemy is not so different from them.  Although Marlene becomes a focal point for the family that helps them through the war the story is less about the elephant than it is about the family as they struggle to survive and find hope, strength, compassion, love and determination within themselves.   

No comments: