THE ELEPHANT’S GIRL, by Celesta Rimington, Crown Books for Young Readers, May 19, 2020, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
There’s something about Celesta Rimington’s The Elephant’s Girl that just calls to readers. From the beautiful cover to the magical story, it’s one you don’t easily forget.
An elephant never forgets, but Lexington Willow can’t remember what happened before a tornado swept her away when she was a toddler. All she knows is that it landed her near an enclosure in a Nebraska zoo; and there an elephant named Nyah protected her from the storm. With no trace of her birth family, Lex grew up at the zoo with Nyah and her elephant family; her foster father, Roger; her best friend, Fisher; and the wind whispering in her ear.
Now that she’s 12, Lex is finally old enough to help with the elephants. But during their first training session, Nyah sends her a telepathic image of the woods outside the zoo. Despite the wind’s protests, Lex decides to investigate Nyah’s message and gets wrapped up in an adventure involving ghosts, lost treasure, and a puzzle that might be the key to finding her family. As she hunts for answers, Lex must summon the courage to leave the secure borders of her zoo to discover who she really is–and why the tornado brought her here all those years ago. —Synopsis provided by Crown Books for Young Readers
The Elephant’s Girl opens in such a way that you have to keep reading:
“The wind and I have a complicated relationship. … I’ve tried asking the wind for my family back, but it isn’t a very good listener. It does most of the talking.”
The wind, it turns out, is always giving Lex advice — ghosts are real, elephants can speak… Lex knows the wind is right, at least about those two things, but the rest of the world doesn’t know that. With each turn of the page, you are further drawn into a world where ghosts do exist (and hold secrets); elephants talk (but only to a select few); and children live inside zoos.
Lex’s world is real and magical and fantastically interesting. What makes this book really work is not that other people don’t believe her — it’s that the most important people in her life do. Without the support of those key players, most of whom are adults, Lex would never have developed into the person she is. It takes an adept writer to take a story this direction, and I’m so glad Celesta Rimington did.
The Elephant’s Girl is a fairly quick read with just the right balance of intrigue and adventure. This one is sure to appeal to a large audience.
© 2020, Cracking the Cover. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided for free by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.