THE WHITE ELEPHANT by Sid Fleischman


by , illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 11
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Punishment becomes reward in this original tale, set in “old Siam” and loosely related to the historical origins of the modern metaphor. Content to be the mahout for his beloved working elephant Walking Mountain, Run-Run, a “boy with dirty ears,” pays for inadvertently letting his pachyderm splash a passing Prince by being given another elephant—this one white, and therefore sacred, exempt from any work. Feeding two huge animals is struggle enough, but what becomes a real challenge for Run-Run is keeping his new burden idle. Sahib, as he’s named, turns out to be gregarious and so willing to follow Walking Mountain’s lead that soon he’s out pulling tree stumps too, despite Run-Run’s frantic efforts to keep him chained up. The full-page pencil drawings on heavy canvas that McGuire pairs to Fleischman’s Jungle Book–style prose nicely bring out the story’s high spots, and Run-Run’s infectious delight in being with his oversized companions. He even enjoys Sahib, to whom he must bid a sad good-bye after the elephant saves the same arrogant Prince from a tiger. A likely draw for young fans of elephants and exotic climes. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-06-113136-9
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2006


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