The Elephant

A charming short novel about a resilient little girl who longs for her dad to break free from the elephant in the title, which is how she pictures his depression As Olive’s dad struggles to go to his work in the morning, she pictures the elephant always with him and as he comes home again, so does the elephant. Always there, always grey, heavy and silent, it casts a shadow of sadness over him. It has been like this since her mother died when she was only a year old. But now she can’t stand to see her father like this any longer so with help from her grandfather and her best friend Arthur, she hatches a plan to rid her family of the elephant once and for all. In the end she will learn that small things can move mountains – or elephants!

The author’s simple but rich story is emotionally honest and will help a child understand the effects of depression and grief on adults, showing them that everything can be okay, and also that someone small can affect something big. If this was a movie, you’d need the box of tissues. The illustrations are dainty, elegant, and wonderfully evocative and give a real sense of heaviness from the elephant that plods around after Olive’s dad.

A great family read and build in time for chat. The writing is simple but honest, and you’ll be warmed by Olive’s determined nature to make her family happy again.