A Circle of Elephants

288p. glossary. Disney-Hyperion. Jan. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781368016582.
Gr 5–8—This companion novel to What Elephants Know takes place in the Borderlands of 1970s Nepal. In the new Royal Elephant Breeding Center, 13-year-old Nandu lives with his adoptive father. Nandu and Hira Prasad, the center's powerful bull elephant, forge a bond when they experience an earthquake together. This moment sparks an emotional journey for Nandu as he comes to grips with the reality of the time and place: animal poaching. Nandu, the narrator, is able to relate to the characters in the story on a deep level, having experienced loss among his people and the animals that surround him. Powerful messages resonate throughout the novel, including kindness, empathy, and harmony among individuals practicing different faiths. These messages authentically come through in the actions and deeds of the main characters' and their responses to some of the difficult events of the novel. The author deftly weaves his scientific knowledge with gentle prose to create a heartfelt tale. A glossary of important terms is a helpful reference for readers.
VERDICT Highly recommended and a must-buy where there are fans of What Elephants Know.

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