Monday, August 6, 2012

Book Review - Tua and the Elephant

Tua and the ElephantTua and the Elephant by Randal Harris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story is a little younger than I usually read, definitly middle grade, but totally enchanting. Little Tua (whose name means peanut because she was so small at birth) brings us her world, Thailand, as she struggles to rescue a baby elephant from the men mistreating her. In the process we meet her loving and hard-working mother, her aunt the actress who considers the world her stage and everyone a potential audience, and the men and women of the market who love little Tua and consider her part of their family.

There are also the bad guys, who even steal from a poor beggar woman. We learn a lot about Thailand, the culture and its people. Tua, while poor, has everything she needs, including empathy and a willingness to sacrifice for others. She sets off to take the elephant she names Pohn-Poun becasue if one Pohn means happiness then two has to be perfect.

The villains are perfect for the age range, one cruel but inept, the other a follower who shows what happens when you don't know how to say no. The added bonus is learning about the culture of Thailand and how the people feel about elephants as Tua takes Pohn-Pohn to a sanctuary and a happy ending for everyone.

A perfect book for the early years, with gorgeous illustrations.

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