Subtitled ""The Story of Ely,"" this book takes a look at the first year of life for a physically challenged African...

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LITTLE BIG EARS

Subtitled ""The Story of Ely,"" this book takes a look at the first year of life for a physically challenged African elephant--also the subject of PBS documentaries---born in Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Moss documents Ely's first year of life: When he is born, he cannot stand up because the first joints of his front legs were bent back and ""completely stiff."" He cannot stand, nurse, or follow the herd. Only by hobbling on his knees does Ely survive the first day. For the next several days he stretches his partially unbent front legs until finally he is able to stand on the soles of his feet, and eventually learns to walk, too. But his trials are far from over; Ely has trouble feeding himself because his trunk is limp--at one point he accidentally steps on it. Once that's mastered, there is a drought, and the calves in the elephant family learn to eat the dung of the adults. Only when the rains come, at the end of Ely's first year, does his survival seem assured. The wordy text will not distract readers from the drama of Ely's story, nor will the occasionally cluttered layout: With no clear sense of design, close-ups are mingled with distance shots, and full-bleed spreads with framed insets. As is true of Ely, readers will have to work for their reward: a triumphant story of an elephant's survival against the odds.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1996

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1996