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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

An Elephant in the Garden

I was able to read An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo (author of War Horse) in one night as I could not put it down… I had to know how the story ended. This is another selection on the Texas Lone Star Reading List 2013-14. The story begins in current day where a nurse begins to narrate the story of an elderly woman named Lizzie in her care at a nursing home who wishes to share her childhood story with her son named Karl. She reflects that the story must be told because it is the anniversary of a very important date. The story then backtracks to Lizzie’s childhood in Dresden, Germany. Lizzie’s father was fighting the war in Russia. Her mother, Mutti, worked at the zoo in Dresden during World War II. Lizzie’s little brother, Karli, was a feeble child with asthma and a limp. The story flips back and forth between Lizzie’s childhood and present day. Lizzie describes Mutti’s determination to save a young elephant named Marlene from the Dresden Zoo when the allies began bombing the city. How can Mutti, Lizzie, and Karli save Marlene or themselves from the repercussions of war? Morpurgo did a lot of research to put true accounts into his moving story about war, perseverance, and love for a smart, loyal elephant. This is great fictional tie-in to the Holocaust.

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