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Small as an Elephant Hardcover – March 8, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press (March 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763641553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763641559
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (163 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #587,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I believe in Jack and his ability to understand his mother in shades of gray. I believe in his ability to be fiercely independent: to try and try and try . . . and at the same time to recognize that he needs others. That others are right there, waiting to catch him."
- Jennifer Richard Jacobson — Quote

About the Author

Jennifer Richard Jacobson is the author of several books for children and young adult readers, including the Andy Shane early chapter books, illustrated by Abby Carter. She lives in Cumberland, Maine.



Of Small as an Elephant, the author says, "I believe in Jack and his ability to understand his mother in shades of gray. I believe in his ability to be fiercely independent: to try and try and try . . . and at the same time to recognize that he needs others. That others are right there, waiting to catch him."

Customer Reviews

My 10 year old read it and loved it.
Teacher1
The moral of the story is marvelous: we will do anything for the people we love.
RJFilary
It is a story of relationships, love and the power of forgiveness.
Lachula

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Grange on June 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As I've read some of the reviews of this book on Goodreads, I've pondered on the various comments. Some people loved it, some people didn't. Some thought it was believable and some did not. I guess it just goes to show that few if any books are universally loved.

This is the story of Jack, and eleven-year-old from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, who finds himself alone at a campground in Maine. His mother suffers from mental illness and has abandoned him. Jack knows that if he tells anyone about this, he will most likely be taken from his mother, and since this has happened before, he decides to try to find her before doing anything else. After discovering that his mother is not accessible, he decides to try to make it home. Once he realizes just how far away home is, he decides to do something that he hopes will let his mom know he forgives her. His struggles to get enough to eat, find a decent place to sleep, keep him from admitting that he and his mother need help. But eventually, Jack receives the help he needs.

Some reviewers think the parts about the elephants are not necessary, but I disagree. Jack's love of elephants and the small plastic elephant he carries for most of his journey, help Jack complete his journey. Maybe it's because I have a similar passion for horses that I can understand Jack's passion and his clinging to that passion to avoid thinking about his mother's abandonment and the feelings that go with it. Yes, Jack does sometimes behave both older and younger than his age, but having worked with kids his age as well as younger and older, I can say that while some kids mature faster than others, but they all have moments of contradictory behavior (like many adults, too). In addition, sadly enough there are all to many children in the world who have to learn to take care of themselves far earlier than they should. I found this book an interesting, empathy-inducing read.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Meshell on April 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am always looking for a good read for kids. This books is beyond good.
It will hook kids immediately. It's fast paced but allows you to totally understand Jack; to get inside his head and heart. Kids will relate to Jack and be astonished at how logical his whole escapade is. I loved that as emotionally draining this book is, it also has a wonderful resolution.

Excellent writing. I can't wait to put this book in the hands of boys or girls at my school!
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By PDXbibliophile on September 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Small As An Elephant could be a quick, sweet read, but it is so emotionally gut-wrenching, adult and older YA readers will find themselves slowing down to contemplate Jack's trauma and choices. Eleven year old Jack has been abandoned at a state park by his mentally ill mother. Younger readers will most likely focus on Jack's love for his mother, his desire to find her, and his adventures as he tries to get home. Older readers will share Jack's anger at his mother and see themselves in the adults in the story who did not pay careful enough attention to spot a desperate child in need of loving intervention. Jack must find his way home without anyone finding out his mother is gone. Since Jack was very small, his devoted, but dysfunctional mother has taught him not to trust adults and to keep their eccentric lifestyle a secret, or he will be taken away from her. She has isolated him from family and prevented him from establishing close relationships with teachers, classmates or neighbors. This unhealthy upbringing actually helps Jack survive alone as he tries to make his way home. He is self-reliant and knows how to lie. He is also clever and a quick decision maker. Being eleven, however, he does not think his decisions through very well and gets himself in several sticky situations. The climax is exciting, but the ending is a little preachy. Small As An Elephant is a very good example of the best in YA literature. It can be read at many different levels with reluctant and average readers focusing on the events and more mature readers focusing on the relationships. Great and meaningful discussions will result.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Samphire on March 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
SMALL AS AN ELEPHANT was beautifully written, incredibly compelling, and so emotionally intense that (especially as the mom of a young son) I sometimes found it almost painful to read, I was so scared and so invested in Jack's fate. I loved the ending, and I look forward to giving this book to my own son to read when he's old enough.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Books31 on March 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Small as an Elephant had me hooked from page one. The story was both riveting and touching, the characters (especially the protagonist Jack) were interesting and realistic, and the pace fast moving.

Of course for me what was most impressive about Small as an Elephant was the level of writing Jacobson exhibits. She is obviously a talented storyteller, but the connection she creates between Jack and the reader really goes above and beyond. Readers will commiserate with Jack and his situation, and find themselves overwhelmed by Jack's futile thoughts of living with his mother again, and will tear up with the books touching and fantastic ending. Really it is this level of writing and connection to Jack that brings Small as an Elephant from a good book to a must read.

All in all Small as an Elephant is a fantastic book. While it is short, readers will thoroughly enjoy the book. Jack is endearing and relatable, the premise is unique, and the level of writing is superb. Defiantly worth the purchase.

[...]
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