A large grey elephant is following Olive’s father around. It leaves with him for work and is still trailing behind him when he comes home again, keeping him heavy and sad. Every day, Olive wishes it would go.
When she falls from a tree and gets a concussion, Olive awakes to see a grey tortoise walking behind her grandad. With the help of her friend Arthur she manages to get rid of it, and the three decide to try to chase the elephant away too.
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Age appropriate: 7-12 years’ old
Peter Carnavas is the author of this warm-hearted book aim for middle grade children. He is an award-winning author and illustrator. ‘The Elephant’ is his first novel but he has created picture books as well as illustrating books for other authors.
It is being published by Pushkin Children’s Books which publishes exciting, high quality writing from around the world.
Publication Date: 28th January 2021
This is such a beautiful heart-warming story which cleverly portrays depression using metaphorical animals in a way that children will be able to understand (The Elephant is so big, heavy and grey with a little black hat).
Mental health is a topic that is rarely approached in children’s books and the way that Carnavas writes and the characters that he created allows this book to be a wonderful portrayal and explanation of depression while being suitable and understandable for a young audience.
This lovely book is perfect for children who are transitioning from picture books into novels as the vocabulary used is simple and easy to understand. The story is told in 3rd person and it nicely described the characters, their feelings and surroundings. Friendship is another topic that this story touches on as well as how important is to be there for your family and friends.
Sometimes children are able to cause us stress and to make us worry about them but they also have the power to cheer us up when we need it and to be endlessly creative in their ways of making us laugh and lift us up when we are feeling down, a fact that this story is able to show us the importance of.
‘The Elephant’ is going to be released during Children’s Mental Health Week 2021 where the aim is to highlight the importance of mental health in young people and children.
It is the kind of book that parents should read first to decide if they would like their child/children to read it on their own or if they would prefer read in together to allow some discussion and explanation. I personally choose to read this book with my boys as I want them to fully understand the topics of the book such as depression, the emotions that people feel and how they deal with them.
In conclusion I really enjoyed reading this book and even as an adult made feel all kind of emotions. I would highly recommend this book to be read by parents together with their child due to the weight of the subject matter. The finale of the story is a happy one although slightly bittersweet as it is much more about learning to carry on living and moving past tragedy rather than promising a fairy tale ending.
Thank you NetGalley and Pushkin Children’s Books for a copy of this lovely book.