Elephant Journey gets 4.5 stars

Alohamora Open a Book, October 26, 2016


Elephant Journey

Written by Rob Laidlaw, Illustrated by Brian Deines
ISBN: 978-1-927485-77-4

Did you know an elephant’s trunk has more than 60,000 muscles? This is just one of many things I learned from this fantastic book.

Elephant Journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and their Rescue from Captivity by Rob Laidlaw is a great non-fiction picture book. That means it is a great book with true facts, but it reads like a story.

I give Elephant Journey 4.5 out of 5 Stars; to be honest that is a pretty impressive score from me. This book earned the high rating for its great illustrated pictures, shown above, and photographs, shown below, just before the index giving a more non-fiction layout kind of feel.

I actually really like the design of the book. I appreciate how the author and illustrator distinguished between the story and the nitty gritty details. The illustrated pictures tell the story of Toka, Thika, and Iringa, the three elephants and their journey out of captivity. The illustrations are beautiful. The real photograph section goes more in depth into how the elephants made the journey, how the elephants thrived after (there was a super sad part), fascinating facts about elephants, and why captivity is so hard on elephants.

Elephant Journey is a great book, and I see a lot of value in it. Though, from a reading level, interest level, and collection point of view I think this book is best suited for 4th- 6th grade (boys and girls alike), but older students could benefit with reading it and writing persuasive papers around the topic of elephants in captivity.

My one improvement for the book would be in regards to the back of the book layout. The layout would be more successful if it was a bit more spread out; at times it feels like the information is being crammed in there. I do like the boxes with elephant facts, but other facts were thrown other places as well. They had some good stuff, but it really could’ve been better.

In the ‘Acknowledgements’ section there is one line that lists a bunch of people that helped the animals move. In that section it lists the names and also ‘the author’ was included. If you weren’t sure who the author was you’d have to flip to the front of the book. I personally think ‘Rob Laidlaw, the author, …’ would’ve flowed better and been more effective.

All in all, it was a powerful, educational, and enjoyable book to read.

Just to get a bit more information I’ve included the book description that Amazon provides.

‘In 2013, people across North America were riveted by the story of Toka, Thika, and Iringa, the last three elephants at the zoo in Toronto, Ontario. Lonely for a larger herd, sick from the cold climate, and weak from standing for long days in a too-small concrete enclosure, the elephants desperately needed a change. The zoo and animal activists agreed that they should be moved to a healthier home, but the best option―the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in distant California―seemed like an impossible dream.

In Elephant Journey, leading activist and award-winning author Rob Laidlaw unfolds the journey of how that impossible dream was realized. In clear, straightforward prose, he describes the elephants’ experiences on the journey of three days and 4,100 kilometers that brought them to the sanctuary at last. Celebrated illustrator Brian Deines’ oil paintings, based on actual footage of the trip, provide an intimate window into the experiences of Toka, Thika, and Iringa as they braved their long road to a new life. Extensive back matter includes an index, photographs, and further information about this miraculous Elephant Journey.’

I received this great book from Myrick Marketing in exchange for my honest review. All of the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Happy Great Elephant Non-Fiction Picture Book Reading!

If you have an elephant lover in your life, or you want to learn more about elephants in captivity definitely check this book out.

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