A thrilling and moving novel about an extraordinary animal caught up in a very human war, for anyone who loved The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips or The Butterfly Lion…
It’s 1945. Elizabeth's father is fighting with the German army on the eastern front. Her mother works at Dresden zoo, where her favourite animal is a young elephant named Marlene. When the zoo director tells her the dangerous animals must be shot to prevent them running amok if the town is bombed, Elizabeth's mother moves Marlene into the back garden to save her… and then the bombs start to fall.
Their home destroyed, Elizabeth and her family must flee the bombed-out city and through the wintery landscape, all the while avoiding the Russian troops who are drawing ever closer. It would be hard enough, without an elephant in tow…
About the author
Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain's best-loved writers for children, and has sold more than 35 million books around the world. He has written more than 150 novels and won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Whitbread Award and the Blue Peter Book Award, while several of his books have been adapted for stage and screen, including the global theatrical phenomenon War Horse. Michael was Children’s Laureate from 2003 to 2005, and founded the charity Farms for City Children with his wife, Clare. He was knighted in 2018 for services to literature and charity.
Inspired by a true story about an elephant rescued from a Belfast zoo during WWII, acclaimed British author Morpurgo (War Horse) pens a historical novel about a German family's struggle to survive as their country is torn apart. The story within a story begins with Lizzie, an aging woman in a Canadian nursing home, telling her nurse and her nurse's nine-year-old son, Karl, that she had an elephant in her garden when she was a child. In 1945 Dresden, 16-year-old Lizzie's father is serving in the war, and her zookeeper mother decides to save an elephant named Marlene from the mercy killings exacted on other animals prior to the anticipated bombings. Marlene lives in their garden, walks on leashes, and stuns neighbors until the devastating bombing of Dresden forces Lizzie, her mother, and brother on an even more surprising journey across Germany seeking safety. Morpurgo crafts a thought-provoking and perilous encounter with an enemy combatant who joins their party and eventually forges a believable romance with Lizzie. The novel's clean prose delivers a gripping and unconventional perspective on the tumultuous era. Ages 10 14.