“Elephants are so special to me, for very personal reasons, so the title of this book was an auto-listen (audiobook). I had to read the story about The Elephant’s Girl and I’m so glad I did because I think this is a new favorite.”
Review by Rayleigh Setser
An elephant never forgets…but Lexington Willow can’t remember her past. When she was a toddler, a tornado swept her away from everyone and everything she knew and landed her near an enclosure in a Nebraska zoo, where an elephant named Nyah protected her from the storm. With no trace of her family, Lex grew up at the zoo with her foster father, Roger; her best friend, Fisher; and the wind whispering in her ear.
Now that she’s twelve, 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. Can Lex summon the courage to hunt for who she really is–and why the tornado brought her here all those years ago?
Release Date: 5/19/2020
Genre: Middle Grade: Magical Realism
This book is so stinking sweet, I almost cried. That last scene went straight to the heart (and I still might cry if I think about it too much longer). Elephants are so special to me, for very personal reasons, so the title of this book was an auto-listen (audiobook). I had to read the story about The Elephant's Girl and I'm so glad I did because I think this is a new favorite. I haven't read very many Magical Realism books, but one of my other favorite middle-grade books (Winter of the Bees by Angela R. Watts) is also a magical realism story, so this may be a genre that I dive into headfirst. So far, my experience with the heartwarming stories of kids and their adventures with magical animals that help them discover truths and treasures is just unmatched and I want all books similar to this. Lex is so sweet. Like, my heart just melted at her thoughts, actions, and experiences. She has a heart of gold and I loved how her adventure happened around her without turning her into a troublesome menace like so many middle-grade books do to their main characters. She truly meant well in all of her decisions and I loved her all the more for it. The adults in this book are also incredible! Roger *cue teary eyes* is actual gold. Adoption is a topic so near and dear to my heart and oh my word, the way he loved Lex like his own daughter just made me want to cry every time. He was so understanding of her little twelve-year-old way of processing things and allowed her to be independent, while also always providing a safe space for her to come back to. Just, such a sweet relationship and bond and I'm here for it. As for the storyline, it was exciting and mysterious. I thought it was the perfect balance between real life and magical realism! I would caution some parents/guardians that ghosts are a prevalent part of the story, as I am aware that many parents/guardians may wish to filter ghosts out of stories for kids, but it isn't in a spooky way--no jump scares. The ghosts are just characters in the book and are accepted as completely normal, so it isn't like they're haunting anything or trying to scare the kids (she's very friendly and loveable even haha). Also, on this topic, Lex deals with the wind "speaking to her" and I viewed this as a personification of anxiety and anxious thoughts since everything she identified as the "wind's words" was something cutting her down or berating her. I thought this was a very creative way to identify anxiety for middle graders and I loved how Lex constantly fought back against them and encouraged herself whenever the wind said something rather than believing what the wind told her. Everything about this book is gold, and I'm so happy that I impulsively listened to it!
Action & Gore:
2. Very mild action (mentions common injuries like broken bones, without gruesome details).
Romance & Spice:
Cursing & Vulgarity:
Other Trigger Warnings:
Ghosts (non-scary/non haunting, they’re just characters) | Loss of parents | Anxiety | Bullying (very mild, but still present)
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