The Elephant's Girl by Celesta Rimington
The sweetest magical realism story about a girl who lives in a zoo
Synopsis:The Elephant's Girl is an epic tale of one girl's survival and her journey to uncover the mysteries surrounding her past. This magical realism story is about Lexington Willow who was protected during a tornado by an elephant, raised in a zoo, befriends a ghost, and has the best baseball loving friend a girl could hope for!
Lexington was found in the elephant enclosure of a Nebraska zoo after an F-5 tornado destroyed an entire town. She was being protected by Nyah, the elephant and is found by Roger, the zoo's train conductor. Roger raises and cares for Lexington. She befriends Fisher, the son of the only other family who live inside of the zoo.
Seven years after the tornado brings Lexington to the zoo, she gets a message from Nyah which sets in motion a grand adventure. While Fisher heads off to baseball camp, Lexington meets Miss Amanda, a ghost who lives outside the zoo's gates and promises to help her with her unfinished business.
My thoughts/feelings: I try to incorporate at least one middle grade book a month into my to-be-read pile. I feel like the Peter Pan of readers. I always want to tell adults "Never Grow Up" when it comes to books. Never push aside middle grade books because you think they are too childish for your oh so mature adult mind. These books are often filled with the sweetest stories and gentle reminders to be kind, to be brave, to be strong, to survive, to laugh, to love...messages that are important for people of all ages and stages of life. Just because they are written for younger readers to be able to comprehend, doesn't mean they can't also be enjoyable and memorable for adult readers. It's ok if you don't have a young reader to read these books with. Read them for you.
A favorite part of the book for me was Lexington's summer assignment by Mrs. Leigh (her best friend's mother, who is also her home school teacher). The assignment is to compare/contrast Lexington's life with Karana's life in Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. That book is one of my favorites, and I loved the references and incorporation into this tale.
That said, I absolutely adored every page of this book. I devoured it and didn't want to stop reading. I read it by my mid-thirties self. This is a book I think should make it's way to libraries and into the hands of readers everywhere!
Thank you so much to NetGalley, Crown Books for Young Readers, and Celesta Rimington for the advanced copy of The Elephant's Girl in exchange for my honest review.