Book Review: The Elephant

The Elephant by Peter Carnavas
The Elephant
by Peter Carnavas

5 out of 5 stars

Olive imagines her father’s sadness like a gray elephant that follows him around and weighs him down. She enlists the help of her best friend and her grandfather to figure out how to chase away the depressing elephant and cheer her father up.

I am so impressed with this thoughtful and sweet middle grade novel. The story is really emotional, and the writing gently leads us through the journey that Olive takes to reach out to her father. All the elements in the story dove-tail together so beautifully: a project that Olive is working on for school, an old broken bike, a colorful pigeon, a paper airplane that floats on the breeze, and a jacaranda tree in Olive’s backyard. Olive and her grandfather have a favorite song they love to sing together. Olive’s best friend, Arthur, reads a huge book all about elephants and shares it with Olive. There are a dozen little details like these that make this book truly special and meaningful.
I fell in love with Olive! She is observant, kind, and introspective. She truly wants to help her family, and she learns that even small things can have a big impact on how you feel. I love how curious and imaginative she is, and she’s not afraid to share her heart with people around her.
I loved Olive’s side kicks: Arthur and Grandad. They are such fun supporting characters with excellent personalities and quirks of their own!

Despite the serious themes in this book, it is also full of fun and silliness! Olive climbs trees, sings songs, jumps on the trampoline, and draws colorful pictures. She notices birds, and flowers, and little scraggly plants. She sees beauty in everyone. There are many light-hearted and playful scenes in this book that keep it from feeling too heavy.

I loved the simple artwork in the illustrations. The art style makes this story come to life in black and white, and really sets the tone for the book.

There is a beautiful plot twist at the end that had me amazed, and it felt so right. Everything in this book is woven together perfectly for a powerful and interesting story.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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