Review: The Elephant

Title: The Elephant
Author: Peter Carnavas
Genre: Children’s
Publisher: Pajama Press
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Release Date: March 17, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

When Olive’s dad drags himself to work in the morning, the elephant goes with him. When he comes home again, so does the elephant. It’s always there, heavy and silent, casting a shadow of sadness over him. Olive knows it has been like this since her mother passed away when she was a year old, and she can’t stand to see her father burdened anymore. With help from her grandfather and her best friend Arthur, she hatches a plan to rid her family of the elephant once and for all. Before long, she’ll learn that while happiness isn’t that simple, small things can move mountains—or elephants. Award-winning author-illustrator Peter Carnavas portrays a child’s response to her father’s depression with naïve wisdom. In defiance of the looming grey presence, The Elephant is an intergenerational story of resilience, family, and hope.


Olive can see a gray elephant following her father around. The elephant keeps growing in size, but no one else can see it. The elephant represents her father’s sadness, and Olive wants to get rid of it. Her grandfather also gets a gray animal, a tortoise, after she has an accident. Olive has to think of creative ways to help send these animals away.

This story is a great metaphor for depression or mental health problems. Olive can physically see how her father’s depression is dragging him down, as if he has a giant elephant following him. This was a creative way to teach children about mental health. It also shows that sometimes you need others to help you get rid of the elephant.

I loved this book!

Thank you Pajama Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebeca Stead

A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers

Have you read The Elephant? What did you think of it?

Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Elephant”

  1. Oh, wow. How inspiring to see a book assumingly for children can actually have such a big impact and metaphoric in terms of tackling some heavy issues such as mental illness or conditions. Great review, Jill!

    Liked by 1 person

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