Erica's Elephant by Sylvia Bishop

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Erica's Elephant by Sylvia Bishop

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: An absolute gem of a book, perfectly pitched for the MG reader. And their elephant, of course. Highly recommended. And then some.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: June 2016
Publisher: Scholastic
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1407159683

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Erica Perkins is a very sensible young lady. When she wakes on the morning of her tenth birthday and finds a very confused elephant sitting on her doorstep, she doesn't jump up and down shouting Ooh, goody goody, or Oh, you poor cuddly thing. She looks the elephant in the eye: Who left you she demanded And why? Erica lived with her Uncle Jeff. Well, she would live with him, if he was there, but he'd left when she was eight years old in search of a bird - the Lesser Pip-footed Woob - and it was up to Erica to cook and clean and, well, bring herself up. He'd left some money in an envelope but there was only £30.42 left and even the piece of paper which came with the elephant stating that Erica Perkins had a Legal Right to him didn't explain how she was going to be able to feed him.

The elephant was quite good company, despite the fact that his conversation was largely restricted to a loud TRONK, but he and Erica quickly established a rapport. They even managed to find a very good way of earning the money Erica needed to buy his food - 150 kilograms of it every day. But, of course, it couldn't go on so happily. Elephant hurt his knee and as if that wasn't bad enough, there was a zoo trying to kidnap Elephant and the Department of Exotic Animals and Hats to be dealt with.

I do so love this book: the writing is pitch-perfect for the MG reader and it's difficult to believe that this is Sylvia Bishop's debut as the book is so assured. It was a breath of fresh air to read a children's book which didn't patronise them in any way, but just assumed that they would be up to understanding the niceties of having to earn money to feed an animal and that - clever as elephants are - they're not all that into paint. What I particularly appreciated is that Erica's Elephant doesn't fall into the common trap of having lots of in jokes which adults will understand, but which will go completely over children's heads. There's loads of humour in here - but you're going to be laughing with your child at the same things. There's nothing worse than having adults giggling and children not understanding why. It's so undignified.

The book's subtly educational and there's also a lovely message that friendship - and help - can be found in the most unusual places. I loved the epilogue (they're a bit like a pudding - you don't need it, but it finishes things off nicely) and I can't wait to see what Sylvia Bishop writes next.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

It's completely different, but if the idea of Erica's Elephant appeals to you, I think you might also enjoy [[Perijee & Me by Ross Montgomery] and The Elephant Thief by Jane Kerr.

Booklists.jpg Erica's Elephant by Sylvia Bishop is in the Top Ten Books for Confident Readers 2016.

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Buy Erica's Elephant by Sylvia Bishop at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Erica's Elephant by Sylvia Bishop at


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