The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr

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The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Anne Thompson
Reviewed by Anne Thompson
Summary: This is the story of a journey but a very special one. A historical adventure with a classic feel inspired by true events this impressive debut is utterly engrossing and exciting right up to the last page.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: March 2017
Publisher: Chicken House
ISBN: 978-1910655757

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In 1872 Maharajah the elephant was sold at auction in Edinburgh to a zoo owner. Shortly after boarding the train to his new home he destroyed the train carriage and his new owner then decided that they would walk to his new home in Manchester. The journey was to take them ten days. Jane Kerr has used this event as the inspiration for her debut novel for children that tells a story that is exciting, compelling and ultimately very moving.

Danny, a young homeless pickpocket, is despatched by the leader of a local, criminal gang on a mission and finds himself accidentally buying an elephant at an auction on behalf of a zoo owner. Offered a job by the new owner of Maharajah Danny discovers that he has to ride the elephant from Edinburgh to Manchester. The task is made harder as a rival zoo owner has wagered on the success of their journey so they must reach their destination in time if Danny's new boss is not to lose everything he owns. The whole country is watching as they progress but their journey is to be filled with drama and more danger than they could possibly have anticipated.

At the heart of this story is the growing friendship between Danny and the magnificent Maharajah. The author has captured wonderfully the dignity and gentleness of this animal whilst also allowing the reader to see his enormous strength and the possible danger he poses. The bond between boy and beast allows the vulnerable Danny to let down his guard a little and I enjoyed Danny's development as the story continues. This is an adventure story but an adventure in which the power of friendship and hope is very important.

The cast of characters who join Danny and Maharajah on their journey are well drawn and the plot twists and turns right up until the end. This is, in my opinion, a well written story that ticks a lot of boxes. There is something about the historical setting that transports the reader to another world in which you get totally caught up in the story. Parents and teachers will enjoy the classic style and children will love being part of the journey with the boy and the elephant. By the end of the story it is simply impossible not to care about Danny and Maharajah and this is definitely the sign of a story that has worked its magic. Highly recommended.

Thank you to the publishers, Chicken House Books, for supplying this review copy.

Slightly older readers would probably enjoy The Child's Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnston an extraordinary book about the bond between a boy and an elephant.

Buy The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr at

Buy The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr at


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