Small as an Elephant

(2011)
Small as an Elephant

A touching story of self-reliance and survival. Eleven year old Jack Martel is abandoned by his mom, who is close to him but suffers from episodes of mental illness. He is left alone at their camping site in Acadia National Park in Maine. Jack must find food in any way he can—digging through trash for lobster leftovers, eating carrots from an older lady’s garden, dining on employees’ lunches while spending the night in an L. L. Bean store. He avoids authorities for fear they will permanently separate him from his mom. His passion for elephants sustains him as he steals a small elephant figurine for comfort, ponders elephant words of wisdom, and seeks to view a very special elephant. Each chapter begins with an elephant fact. “It was once assumed that all elephants in a group were related. But not so. If an elephant family has been torn apart due to poaching, elephants will form new families” (220).  Jack meets many interesting characters in his journey and discovers that there are good people who sincerely want to help him. He learns to trust his own grandmother again even though his mother has forced him away from her. Readers will admire Jack’s determination and resourcefulness.

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