Title: The Elephant
Author: Peter Carnavas
Publisher: Pajama Press
Release Date: March 17, 2020
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:
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A Possibility of Whales by Karen Rivers
Have you read The Elephant? What did you think of it?