Wednesday, April 11, 2012
An Elephant in the Garden
by Michael Morpurgo
When elderly Lizzie starts telling young Karl of the elephant she once had in her garden, Karl's mom has a hard time believing in it. Why would someone have an elephant in their garden? Lizzie goes on to tell a story from her childhood, of Dresden in the bombings of 1945. Lizzie's mother worked at a zoo, and in order to keep the young elephant Marlene from being shot, she brings Marlene home with her.
This story of war, told from a teenage Lizzie's perspective was sweet, touching and gripping. The story telling was excellent, and kept me interested. While it jumps from present to past, the difference is not confusing, and gives a nice frame to Lizzie's story. Told from a German refuge's point of view, this tale will steal your heart, just as Marlene stole the hearts of all she met on their journey!
I loved this book. It was touching, engaging, and would help a teen or child understand a war from a new point of view. The bombing was only seen from a distance, and there wasn't anything really objectionable in the story. This book would be suitable for late elementary school to teens. While girls might be more drawn to it, I can see boys enjoying it too.