Monday, September 19, 2011

Summer Book Club Wk 6: The Elephant's Tale

Legend of the Animal Healer: The Elephant's Tale
by Lauren St John
208 pages, Ages 9-12
ISBN-13: 978-0142418796
Published by Walden Pond Press

The thrilling finale to the Legend of the Animal Healer series!

Martine and her grandmother discover that they might lose Sawubona, their animal game reserve, to a sinister stranger. In order to save her home, Martine and her best friend, Ben, follow a trail of clues to the Namibian desert. There they discover that the disappearance of 20 elephants and a secret plan that endangers many more, may be tied to Sawubana. Martine must risk everything she loves to save Sawubona and the elephants, and to finally discover the truth about her destiny and the magical connection she has with all animals. Jemmy, the white giraffe, and Khan, the last leopard, are alongside Martine and Ben as The Secret Valley reveals it's mysteries in this satisfying conclusion to the series that began with the #1 Children's BookSense Pick "The White Giraffe".

My thoughts:
The Elephant's Tale has a powerful message about endangered animals and the cruelty of poachers and greed. Beginning with the arrival of Reuben James, Martine has a nagging feeling that he is a bad man up to no good and she's certain of it when after he leaves she discovers that he has come with a will that he says her Grandfather signed before he died leaving him the sole beneficiary of the preserve. Giving almost 12 year old Martine and her Grandmother 2 weeks to pack and say goodbye to their home he leaves the preserve.

The tale begins at this point. The next day a row of bulldozers and other machines turn up with a court order to start demolition of the preserve so the White Giraffe Safari Park can be built. The story begins with a bang and the emotion and action in the book start building.

When I requested The Elephant's Tale I didn't realize that mysticism and animalism was throughout the book so I would suggest you read parts (or all) of the book and be prepared to answer questions and talk it over with your kids. Some of you may not be concerned about this but for those of you who will be I'm giving you a heads up. One of the characters in the book is a woman named Grace, who is a local sangoma (healer), who divines Martine's future and tells her that elephants will be a part of her quest - she is also the one training Martine in healing.

This book provides a good opportunity to study conservation, extinction of our animals and how we can help the planet by taking care of it. It's also a good time to talk about greed and selfishness and the character traits of honesty, responsibility and kindness (tips here).

I would personally suggest these books be read as a family or with a parent of kids 8-11 due to some of the subject matter.

The other books in this series are:

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Click on the book to order - each is $6.99 on Amazon

About the author: Read a Q&A article
Lauren St John's Blog * Facebook * Twitter * Website

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