07 May 2011

Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

Eleven-year-old Jack Martel loves elephants.  He can tell you all sorts of facts about them, and he finds comfort in their company (even the ones that are only plastic).  Jack and his mom have traveled up to Maine from Boston for an impromptu vacation, and Jack is dying to see Lydia, Maine's own real live elephant, but Mom says that they can't.  Then Mom leaves.  Jack wakes up the first morning at the Arcadia National Park campsite and his mother is gone, leaving only the tent that Jack was sleeping under.  Over the next few days the story follows Jack as he tries to figure out not only how to survive without any money, shelter, or guidance, but also what happened to his mom -- why she left, where she is now, and if he'll ever see her again.  Jack meets a number of characters along his journey -- some helpful, and some kind of creepy -- but it's the toy elephant in his pocket that remains his most loyal companion.  But an elephant won't necessarily be able to feed him or save him -- or bring Mom back.

Recommended most for middle grade readers, especially boys with a taste for adventure that isn't too frightening... nor too predictable.
Call number: YA JACOBSON (Teen Room)

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

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