A rescued baby elephant raised in Malawi turns out to be much like a human baby, exploring his world, needing cuddles and comfort, learning to use his body parts and making friends.
Chapter by chapter, the Zimbabwean-born author, the orphaned elephant’s “human mama,” gives amusing examples of the baby’s behavior, imagining his ideas and feelings as though he were a human child. Moses’ presumed thoughts are given voice: “Why am I the only one without a nose?” he wonders, after exploring his rescuer’s face and his own with his trunk. Jealous at first when a human baby arrives, he becomes her protector. Relevant photographs accompany each anecdote (though likely most were taken after the fact). An author’s note for adult readers takes away some of the book’s joy: Moses later succumbed to an infection. However, his life has inspired his rescuers to create a foundation to continue elephant-rescue work. The stories of Moses’ childhood are entertaining, especially as he discovers chili sauce in the kitchen and hearing aids that whistle when his trunk gets too close. But young readers and listeners might have been better served if the author had not presumed to read and quote from the elephant’s mind.
A “true story” with an extensive text and extra helping of imagination. (Informational picture book. 4-8)