An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

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Synopsis

Lizzie and Karl’s 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 don’t 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 author’s 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.


 

About Michael Morpurgo

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Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain's best loved writers for children. He has written over 100 books and won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Whitbread Award and the Blue Peter Book Award.
 
Published October 25, 2011 by Feiwel & Friends. 224 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Travel, War, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for An Elephant in the Garden

Kirkus Reviews

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Sixteen-year-old Lizzie, her younger brother Karli, her mother and the elephant begin, on foot, a mid-winter journey toward the safety of a relative’s rural home, where they encounter Peter, a Canadian flyer downed in the bombing.

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The Guardian

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Michael Morpurgo's book Elephant in the Garden is a book that I think will go further in the future.

Sep 07 2011 | Read Full Review of An Elephant in the Garden

The Guardian

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A family – a mother, her teenage daughter, her young son and an elephant called Marlene – flee westwards from the holocaust and from the advancing Russian armies.

Jul 16 2010 | Read Full Review of An Elephant in the Garden

Publishers Weekly

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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.

Nov 14 2011 | Read Full Review of An Elephant in the Garden

City Book Review

When the allies begin to bomb Dresden, the Lizzie, her mother, and her younger brother Karli, along with Marlene, run from the city and walk to a relative’s farm.

Feb 06 2012 | Read Full Review of An Elephant in the Garden

Historical Novel Society

The narrative is taken over by Lizzie who begins to tell Karl the story of the elephant, Marlene, explaining that their mother worked at Dresden Zoo during the war and was given the task of looking after a baby elephant.

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ABC Perth

Set in Germany at the end of World War Two, the books tells the simple tale of a family who take flight with their unusual four-legged friend.

Sep 20 2011 | Read Full Review of An Elephant in the Garden

Reader Rating for An Elephant in the Garden
88%

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