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The Copper Elephant Paperback – August 1, 2008


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 9 and up
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Front Street, Incorporated; Reissue edition (August 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590786300
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590786307
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,803,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Picture this: a world where the acid rain is a constant downpour, where you can't go outside without smearing "safe jam" on your exposed skin, where militaristic brutes storm from dwelling to dwelling demanding paper clips, nails, and anything else the Syndicate deems essential. Welcome to the Shelf, Adam Rapp's disturbing and lasting vision of a post-apocalyptic earth. We don't know exactly how it got this bad, or when, but we do know that no one talks about birthdays or Christmas anymore.

On the Shelf, the miserable are corralled together to meet their fates. Elders are taken away in the Flying Fox and never seen again. The Undertwelves are tattooed with numbers and marched off to the Pits--a worse circle of this inferno, where these Digit Kids are forced to break rocks with splittingpicks until they fall down dead. Thanks to the brave kindness of a coffin builder, 11-year-old Whensday has managed to escape the Pits. She takes refuge for a time helping Tick Burrowman build his bodyboxes, but when she fears he's going to sell her, she runs away to the Bone Trees. There she meets Honeycut and Oakley, two other children who have eluded the Pits, and the three make an effort at raw survival.

Whensday tells this gripping, memorable story with the frankness of a child and in a dialect that reflects the brutal reality of the new world order. In such a place there is no time for proper grammar, and words must be invented for each fresh hell (homes are now mere "life holes," the primary food is "cornslop," and coughed up phlegm is "lungpuddles"). But somehow, amid the horror, Rapp manages to weave impressive beauty and hope. Whensday is a character to fall in love with and root for, who understands "Strength don't always come from muscles and size. Sometimes it comes from that stuff that hides in your spit." Most of all, she helps us appreciate the small things: a bird's nest, a spoon, an elephant made of foil. --Brangien Davis --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Poison rains are assaulting the rapidly decaying earth, and brutal soldiers control what is left of the population. "As ominous and as skillful in its creation of dialect as Rapp's The Buffalo Tree, this dystopian adventure may be too hermetic to welcome a wide readership," wrote PW. Ages 13-up. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

NOTE: This book is shown as a Young Adult book, ages 14 and up.
Cheryl Stout
Using a intimate first person perspective - the reader truly experiences the environment that has been created.
orbops
Well, there wasn't really much of a problem I had with this book, I just...couldn't stay interested.
David L. Hawkins

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By orbops on April 15, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an amazing novel that immerses the reader in a bleak and disturbing world. Using a intimate first person perspective - the reader truly experiences the environment that has been created. I felt myself continually surprised at the direction the book would take, yet surprise turned into acceptance of the situation (I won't spoil details for you!). All of the characters are vivid and compelling. I only hope that there will be a sequel, for I want to be taken back to this world...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David M. Koss on March 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It is critical to get our teenagers to read more and betterliterature. Reading skills are at the core of all types of learning,but teens are more easily distracted from taking the time to read today than in the past. Hence, when serious, new fiction is published for high school age children, parents, teachers and librarians should jump at the chance to make the work available.
Written in comtemporary language, Adam Rapp's tale of a post-apocalyptic community, written in the voice of a young girl, is the kind of novel teens will be drawn to. The storyline, the issues and the language are not for the faint of heart, so it is not for every youngster. But I highly recommend the book for mature readers, particularly in the age range of 12 to 18.
Most importantly, this is a book that today's teens will want to read and will enjoy, but is sophisticated enough to satisfy any fair-minded secondary school English teacher. My 13-year-old loved it, and his teacher, a department chair in his school's English department, thanked me for bringing it to her attention.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the kind of book that makes you want the movie version right now...I couldn't put it down. Now I want to read all of Rapp's books. Hey Amazon.com give us an interview or web time with him. Amazing book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Stout TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Copper Elephant" is a horrific look at a post-apocalyptic world, narrated by 11 year old Whensday Bluehouse.

Acid rain, food and clean water shortages, shortages of almost everything that makes life worth living - this is not an easy life.

I usually like my reading matter to contain a bit more hope, even the post-apocalyptic books I read. But Whensday's world is strangely compelling - rather like slowing down in your car to see a wreck. The argot that the characters use scattered throughout the book is eye catching, too (I especially liked Whensday's use for jellyfishes).

NOTE: This book is shown as a Young Adult book, ages 14 and up. I've written before that just because children are in a book doesn't necessarily make it a children's book. There is vulgar language, violent situations, a rape, abuse of children - so be forewarned.
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