Thursday, October 29, 2009

Elephant Run: Mother-Daughter Reviews

My nine-year-old daughter's teacher enjoys sharing contemporary children's novels with his class. Recently, he did Elephant Run by Roland Smith as a read-aloud for the class. Suzy enjoyed it and wanted to read it on her own, too, so she checked it out from the county library.

When she arrived home with the book, she suggested I might like to read it, too.

OK. Elephants, Burma, World War II, it sounded pretty interesting. And I wasn't disappointed. I thoroughly enjoyed Elephant Run. We've both finished it now, so we've both reviewed it. You can read Suzy's review on her blog, SuperBookGirl.

The book begins in London, 1941. Thirteen-year-old Nick Freestone's mother sends him to live in Burma with his father after their home is destroyed in a bombing raid. Nick's father owns a teak plantation, which uses elephants for logging. Unfortunately, the Japanese arrive almost immediately after Nick does, taking his father to a prison camp and occupying the plantation. It's a story of Nick's survival and eventual attempt to rescue his father.

It's a great novel for ages 9-12. The book is well written, with an engaging and exciting story. It doesn't gloss over bad things that happened in World War II (deaths of some people on the plantation, for instance) but also doesn't get excessively graphic. Nick is clearly attracted to his friend Mya, but it's not overly emphasized (it's not a kissing book!).

I also thought it was interesting to see a different piece of the World War II story. History and historical fiction doesn't often focus on Burma, and personally, I've read much more about the European part of the war.

I would highly recommend this book for ages 9-12, and older kids and adults will enjoy it, too.


Jennifer said...

I'll have to look this up - I've been interested in this aspect of WWII ever since I read and fell in love with Stranger at Green Knowe by L. M. Boston, which is about a refugee from Burma, among many other things!

Wendy said...

Marked to-read. Have you read A Town Like Alice?

Kathleen McDade said...

No, I never have. I should probably mark THAT to-read!

Sandy D. said...

I got this for my 12 y.o. son last week (based on your reviews!), and he loved it. He's excited about checking out other books by Roland Smith, too. Thank you!