We Bought a Zoo meets Jurassic Park in a gripping story featuring the evergreen appeal of human-animal friendships and set in an elephant sanctuary, about a thirteen-year-old girl, a cast of elephants, and a surprising new arrival—a woolly mammoth.
Sam was born and raised in an elephant sanctuary. When a beloved elephant dies giving birth, Sam develops a connection with baby Woolly—who isn't actually an elephant but was cloned from woolly mammoth DNA. And the billionaire genius behind the cloning experiment will stop at nothing to protect his investment. Smart, determined, and loving, Sam stands up to this powerful adversary to protect the sanctuary and her herd. In the best tradition of child-animal friendship stories, Elephant Secret explores the strong and complex bond between Sam and her elephants while offering a fascinating, authentic glimpse into elephant—and human—behavior.
"Elephants are loyal and kind and gentle, and while some people have those qualities, most don't," says 13-year-old Samantha Gray, who lives on a North American elephant sanctuary with her father. Her mother died in childbirth, and the herd of 11 rescued elephants has become her family. Precocious and fiercely independent, Samantha spends time getting to know each elephant and plans to be a vet someday. Her world is shaken by her father's girlfriend ("that crocodile smile wasn't fooling me for a second"); a new elephant, Burma, who has a violent history; and her father's silent partner, who's donating much-needed funds to the sanctuary in exchange for artificially inseminating three of their elephants. Samantha and her father have always acted in the elephants' best interest and fear that Burma may threaten the herd's safety. Meanwhile, the silent partner's mission is not motivated by what they expected. Walters packs in numerous details about these magnificent and highly intelligent creatures while raising complex ethical questions regarding humans' relationship with animals. Ages 10 12.