Review of The Elephant's Girl

Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Today I am sharing a new novel that is the perfect summer read for intermediate readers (ages 8-12). Imagine surviving a tornado and ending up in the elephant enclosure of a zoo. You have no memory of who you are or who your parents are or even your age, but you are a young child. That describes the life of the main character, Lexington, in today's book, The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta Rimington.

Lexington is taken in by one of the three zoo employees that live at the zoo, the train engineer. The zoo manager is not happy but doesn't say too much. The other employee living at the zoo has a family with a boy around the same age as Lexington and they are best friends. Lexington tried going to school with Fisher, but the other kids make fun of her and call her "elephant girl", so she decides to just stay at the zoo. Fisher's mother homeschools her since she used to be a teacher. The last assignment before summer was reading Island of the Blue Dolphins. Mrs. Leigh assigns her to compare her own life with that of the book’s main character over the summer. The summer is also going to be different. Fisher is going away to a three week long baseball camp and is practicing baseball every day prior for the entire morning away from the zoo. It is the summer they get to help with the training of the elephants. Something Lex has wanted for as long as she can remember. She especially wants to see Nyah, the elephant who protected her during the tornado. Since the tornado Lex has heard a voice in the wind. She discovers that Nyah can communicate with her by a sound and then pictures appear in her mind. The pictures make Lex step out of her comfort zone and explore the woods beyond the zoo fence. There is a mystery, a ghost and help needed. Lex goes on the adventure and faces her own fears. Throughout the book there is drama, mystery, and adventure with a little magic mixed in. It makes you want to continue reading it to find out what will happen.

I found this book very interesting to read. It took a few chapters to really get into it and of course some of it seems unrealistic but it is an amazing book. Once you get into it you don't want to put it down. There is drama and adventure and a sense of mystery throughout it as well as a touch of magic. Plus there is the entire science aspect of the elephants (and steam engine) as well as some history. There are so many different discussion lines that could be used with this book and especially if the class had also read Island of the Blue Dolphins. At the end of the book Celesta Rimington shares resources to learn more about elephants as well as some of what she learned and used in her story. She clarifies which traits in the story are known and which she expanded to make the story. To learn even more about elephants I recommend Grandmother Elephant's in Charge which I reviewed here. It is a picture book for ages 3-8 but I think older kids would learn a lot from it as well as enjoy it.

To go with this book I thought it would be fun to find some elephant crafts for readers to try. Most of these are age appropriate for the recommended ages of this book. 

1) Elephant Bookmark from Red Ted Art

2) Elephant Corner Bookmark from Mom Brite

3) Paper Elephant Craft from Simple Everyday Mom

4) Coffee Filter Elephant from Look We're Learning

5) K-Cup Elephant from Artsy Momma

6) Toilet Paper Tube Elephant from Red Ted Art

7) Cardboard Elephant from Red Ted Art

8) Origami Elephant Head (There is a different style of one here as well)

9) CD Elephant Puppet from J.Daniel4's Mom

10) Balloon Elephant Card from Craft Bits

Another great craft would be to do a needle felted elephant. (Ages 8-12 is a great time to introduce needle felting as long as they are careful with the needle.) I shared a great book that includes a circus elephant tutorial here. (Nyah was a circus elephant before coming to the zoo.) Ages 8-12 also can be taught to knit and there is a knitted elephant pattern in the book I reviewed here.

I hope you check out this great new book and share some of the crafts! I would love to see your elephant creations in the comments or on my Facebook Page (and please follow it).