Kirkus Reviews QR Code
ELEPHANTS REMEMBER by Jennifer O'Connell


A True Story

by Jennifer O'Connell ; illustrated by Jennifer O'Connell

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-88448-928-3
Publisher: Tilbury House

A look at the friendship between a conservationist and the elephant herd he rescues.

When the elephants need to be relocated as a result of their destructive wanderings, Lawrence Anthony knows that if he does not take the herd to Thula Thula, his animal reserve in Zululand, South Africa, the animals risk being killed by poachers. Two elephants—the matriarch and her calf—were killed during their capture, and Lawrence struggles to gain the animals’ trust and ensure their safety and well-being. Slowly, he succeeds, and his initially uneasy relationship with new matriarch Nana develops into a lasting bond; even after Lawrence tries to distance himself from the elephants, granting them their independence, the elephants never forget him, and on his death, they come to his house, seemingly to mourn him. This is a compelling true story that will leave readers on the edges of their seats. O’Connell’s text is supplemented with backmatter that includes information, in question-and-answer format, about elephants, Lawrence Anthony, and Thula Thula as well as an author’s note and a list of additional resources. Acrylic illustrations capture Nana’s anger and mistrust of humans and Lawrence’s patience with the herd. Librarians and educators should prepare for a rush of elephant-related questions once this book hits the shelves, and caregivers may find themselves equally fascinated by this heartbreaking story of trust, survival, and loss. Lawrence is White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An excellent story, well told. You’ll remember it always.

(Informational picture book. 6-10)