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When Anju Loved Being an Elephant Hardcover – September 1, 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Anju, an elephant, is being moved again, coaxed by her mahout (caretaker) into a trailer. Told in flashback, the story paints Anju’s memories—of happy days in Sumatra; of too many years performing circus tricks (perching on a stool, bedecked with a silly hat); and of life in zoos. Butler’s soft-edged paintings add a dimension of compassion in reflecting Anju’s memories. Endearing images of elephant babies standing with trunks entwined, sleeping “heartbeat-to-heartbeat,” contrast dramatically with the sad-eyed elephant being transported, her trunk clinging to bars symbolic of prison. After 50 years of captivity, Anju is at first wary of other elephants and the wide-open spaces of her new elephant-sanctuary home, but she soon eases into her new life. Although the anthropomorphism may be off-putting to adults sharing the story with young ones, the elephant’s thoughts are necessary to convey the heavy but important message of how humans use animals. An appendix includes fascinating facts about elephants. Grades 1-3. --Patricia Austin

About the Author

Wendy Henrich's love of animals expresses itself in the stories she writes for children. In researching elephants, she was struck by their deep family connections and emotional needs so closely resembling those of humans. Wendy lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

John Butler has illustrated more than 40 children's books, including A Mama for Owen, the true story of the African baby hippo that, separated from his mother during the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami, bonded with a giant tortoise. John lives in England.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585365335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585365333
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,768,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 6 y.o.'s review of this book: I really loved this book. I liked when Anju snuggled as a baby. I laughed at Anju in a circus hat. I was surprised when the rest of the herd came to Anju and one snuggled with her at the end of the book. I learned that elephants live a long time.

Here's my review: This is an enjoyable book to read to your children. The prose is lyrical and tells about the typical life of captive elephants. The ending of this book is satisfying, not only to the reader, but also to the main character. The author lists "elephant facts" at the end of the book as well as ways the readers can help elephants. The illustrations are beautiful and contribute to Anju's story. Kids will enjoying spotting the bunnies, spider, and birds sprinkled throughout the pages.
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Format: Hardcover
Henrichs has a knack for lyrical prose and wonderful pacing. While fiction, the story aligns with many similar tales of how truly brilliant elephants are by nature. As a young elephant, Anju lumbers happily in her familiy's jungle region. One day that changes. Anju is stolen and sold to a circus, and the years pass. Now ready for retirement, a kind caretaker knows just what Anju needs. This peaceful narrative has a happy ending, beautiful illustrations, and a hopeful message. And, like an elephant, you'll remember this story long after it's read.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read many amazing picture books, but few touch my heart the way When Anju Loved Being an Elephant by Wendy Henrichs did. Through the story of Anju, we learn how an elephant might feel who remembers being free and being surrounded by her friends and family, but now is alone. This touching tale has a happy ending as Anju is transported to an elephant preserve and meets her long-lost friend. Based on true incidents of elephant friendships that spanned decades, the story of Anju is written in lyrical and poetic prose that captures the rhythms of the train as Anju travels across the country to her new home, the tender impulses of her lonely heart, and the joy of friendship. With lovely original art, this is a fabulous gift for any animal-loving child (or parent!).
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By Connie on January 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nice book for kids. A great gift. Has a warm approach to animal feelings which children can identify with and understand. Beautiful illustrations.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a great story… One of the books the kids pick out to read over and over again and one I don’t mind reading over and over again!
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