When 11-year-old Jack Martel crawls out of his pup tent on the first morning of his camping trip with his mom in Acadia National Park, he notices right away that something isn’t right. Where is his mom’s tent, and their rental car? And where is his mom? Any other kid might panic, might even go to the police. But Jack isn’t like other kids. And his mom isn’t like other moms.
Jack knows that it’s up to him to find his mom before someone figures out what’s happened and separates them forever. But finding his mom in the state of Maine isn’t the same as finding her in their neighborhood back in Boston. With nothing but a small plastic elephant to keep him company, Jack begins his search, starting with all the places they’d planned to visit together. But as the search drags on, a dark thought plagues him: once he finds his mom, will he ever be able to forgive her?
©2011 Jennifer Richard Jacobson (P)2011 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
This is a lovely, hopeful read about, Jack, an 11-year-old boy who finds himself abandoned at a Maine campground while on vacation with his mom. When I chose to read this book, I didn't realize the reason his mom left him was due to her mental illness; had I known, I'm not sure I would have chosen this book (expecting it to be too heart wrenching). I'm glad I read "Small as an Elephant" though -- it captures the resilience and hope that sometimes only children have, and their ability to forgive. As Jack tries to make his way back to the home he shares with his mom in Massachusetts, he experiences hunger, homelessness, fear of being found and concern about the repercussions of his mom's departure on his life. Through it all, Jack persists and endures... he is inspired by his knowledge of elephants and their traits. I don't want to give away the ending -- like the rest of the story, it is hopeful and satisfying. I listened to this as an audiobook, and found the narration made the story come alive. I highly recommend Small as an Elephant: It's an interesting, satisfying children's book with appeal for readers of all ages.
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