An Elephant In The Garden by Michael Morpurgo

All For One

An Elephant In The Garden by Michael Morpurgo is a powerful dual timeline novel that I just could not put down. It is perfect for ages ten years and over. Whatever your age, this is a beautiful novel that will educate and entertain.

The story is set in present day in a nursing home and also looking backwards to Dresden in 1945.

An old lady is dismissed as having dementia when she talks about the elephant in her garden. Only a young boy recognizes it as true and longs to hear her tale.

We witness the dreadful destruction of Dresden by the Allies. Michael Morpurgo writes powerfully about the fires of hell that engulf the town. Like the story of Lot in the Bible, the family must move forwards and not look back.

Families come in different shapes and sizes. This family is a mother, two children and a baby elephant. The elephant is an orphan and views the human mother as her mother. The baby elephant brings out the mothering instincts in the human mother.

Along the way there are dangers in the form of the landscape of winter, the Russians, the Nazis, soldiers and civilians. The band of four must work together in order to survive.

We see that not all Germans are Nazis. Young men fighting on both sides are battle weary and just want to go home.

A mother’s love is all encompassing. I found this quote very powerful. “She [mother] took me into her arms then, and hugged the anger out of me.”

I always enjoy Michael Morpurgo’s novels. An Elephant In The Garden is a very powerful and entertaining read.


2 thoughts on “An Elephant In The Garden by Michael Morpurgo

  1. This reminds me of a movie I saw a few years ago, but I can’t put my finger on the title. After a zoo was damaged in ww2, some of the animals were protected by nearby villagers in their homes and tiny gardens. It, too, was a powerful story of family, loyalty, and brilliance even in the midst of a horrid time. Wish I could remember the name of it. It could be interesting to read this book and then rewatch the movie, and see how they compare. Thank you for sharing this review!

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