The Elephant


Olive observes life from the heights of the jacaranda. While Freddie barks at the tree’s base, she watches her father, overwhelmed by The Elephant that is his constant companion. It seems to deny his from connection with life. How might Olive make The Elephant disappear?

Her friend Arthur says that elephants can live for more than seventy years! Then again, Grandad says that Olive should leave Dad alone, that he needs time. Grandad collects her from school with a purple rucksack that they might have adventures; making and flying paper aeroplanes across the park, visiting antique markets.They are ‘side by side’ companions.  It seems that Grandad fills all the holes in her life, including her packed lunchbox! Yet still, Olive is determined that Dad should be solved. Therefore, might urging him to complete renovation of the old bike that she might show it at the school’s centenary help? Would it banish The Elephant?

From the gentle, nurturing relationships between family members and friendships, to Olive’s loving concern, The Elephant oozes compassion and kindness. Furthermore, it’s a perfectly told story. We watch life unfolding for Olive and her family and classmates and wonder how things might pan out, what Olive will present at school…

Bookwagon adores this book. We recommend it for reading and sharing at home and school, talking over, rereading and treasuring. The Elephant is a very, very special book.

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The Elephant

Peter Carnavas

(Pushkin Children’s)

Olive worries about The Elephant that hangs about her father. It is huge, overbearing and brings her father down. What might she do to remove it? It’s obvious that it’s growing, for isn’t that what elephants do, always? It says so in Arthur’s reference book.
Olive can see the world from the jacaranda. This position helps her think about things. So do purple rucksack outings with Grandad who collects her after school They might visit an antiques’ shop, or take a long walk to somewhere special. Sometimes they make and fly paper planes and remember Olive’s mother. It seems that they are ‘side by side’ companions.
Yet what happens when something happens to Olive? Thereafter, how might Olive rid Grandad of his tortoise? Then again, Olive has to bring something special and old to share as school celebrates its centenary. Arthur shows his grandmother’s squeeze box. Is it possible that Dad might fix Emily’s old bike, that was her mother’s? Or might memories of her make The Elephant even bigger?
The weight of sadness is acknowledged in this empathetic, beautiful story of family and friendship and loss. Rather like The Boy and the Gorilla there is such compassion and hope in this story, and such respect in the way relationships are developed. Bookwagon adores this book. We urge readers to choose this as a story to share, hold close and treasure.


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