Synopses & Reviews
Lizzie and Karls mother is a zoo keeper; the family has become attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene, who will be destroyed as a precautionary measure so she and the other animals dont run wild should the zoo be hit by bombs. The family persuades the zoo director to let Marlene stay in their garden instead. When the city is bombed, the family flees with thousands of others, but how can they walk the same route when they have an elephant in tow, and keep themselves safe? Along the way, they meet Peter, a Canadian navigator who risks his own capture to save the family.
As Michael Morpurgo writes in an authors note, An Elephant in the Garden is inspired by historical truths, and by his admiration for elephants, “the noblest and wisest and most sensitive of all creatures.” Here is a story that brings together an unlikely group of survivors whose faith in kindness and love proves the best weapon of all.
"Inspired by a true story about an elephant rescued from a Belfast zoo during WWII, acclaimed British author Morpurgo (War Horse) pens a historical novel about a German family's struggle to survive as their country is torn apart. The story within a story begins with Lizzie, an aging woman in a Canadian nursing home, telling her nurse and her nurse's nine-year-old son, Karl, that she had an elephant in her garden when she was a child. In 1945 Dresden, 16-year-old Lizzie's father is serving in the war, and her zookeeper mother decides to save an elephant named Marlene from the mercy killings exacted on other animals prior to the anticipated bombings. Marlene lives in their garden, walks on leashes, and stuns neighbors until the devastating bombing of Dresden forces Lizzie, her mother, and brother on an even more surprising journey across Germany seeking safety. Morpurgo crafts a thought-provoking and perilous encounter with an enemy combatant who joins their party and eventually forges a believable romance with Lizzie. The novel's clean prose delivers a gripping and unconventional perspective on the tumultuous era. Ages 10 14. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Young Lizzies story (differentiated from the framing tale by typeface change) is quick-paced and moving, and her teenage viewpoint is believable." —BCCB
"Morpurgo crafts a thought-provoking and perilous encounter with an enemy combatant who joins their party and eventually forges a believable romance with Lizzie." —Publishers Weekly
Online "Readers . . . cant help but be drawn into the tale of survival told in An Elephant in the Garden
, which is loosely based on a real event from World War II." —BookPage
"The calm, steady tone is engaging, appropriate, and will appeal to a wide range of readers." —VOYA "The occasional interruptions to the story build suspense and add a layer of resonance to Morpurgos poignant and thoughtful exploration of the terrible impact of war on both sides of the fighting." —Booklist "This well-paced, heartwarming narrative by a master storyteller will appeal to readers on several levels." —School Library Journal Praise for Michael Morpurgo: * "Morpurgo's suspenseful, ultimately tragic novel opens as 18-year-old Tommo Peaceful stays up all night ‘to try to remember everything. . . . This is a moving depiction of a loving relationship between two brothers, their lives so linked that readers may wonder until the end whose fate lies in the balance. All in all, a powerful story about war's costs, and who pays the price." —Publishers Weekly, starred review of PRIVATE PEACEFUL "This searing World War I novel reveals the unspeakable slaughter of soldiers on all sides fighting against people who are just like them. . . . The viewpoint brings close the fury of the thundering guns, the confusion, and the kindness of enemies who come together in No Man's Land to save the wounded horse . . . and the terse details speak eloquently about peace." —Booklist on WAR HORSE
About the Author
Sir Michael Morpurgo, Order of the British Empire, is one of the worlds most acclaimed authors for children. His middle grade novel, War Horse, debuted on Broadway in 2011 and is being adapted for film by Stephen Spielberg.