The Elephant Doctor of ­India

Chicago Review. Mar. 2021. 208p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781641603072.
Gr 4-7–Dr. Kushal Konwar Sarma, an innovative Indian veterinarian specializing in the care of elephants, is the purported subject of this title, but the Asian elephant takes the lead in this work that combines adventure, biography, and scientist-in-the-field observations. Chodosh illuminates the life of Sarma through episodes involving various elephants and his groundbreaking work to learn how to treat them and how to encourage their conservation. Stories of Sarma working to save captive and wild elephants are vividly described; scientific information is woven throughout. Black-and-white photographs accompany the text. Readers join rescue missions that are exciting, dangerous, and heartwarming. The plight of the Asian elephant is described in detail. The controversies around keeping these creatures in captivity are openly discussed as well as the challenges of environmental changes that manifested because of tea plantations. Sarma’s connection to and empathy for these complicated, engaging animals are infectious. Readers who want to make a connection with the Asian elephant will not be disappointed in this absorbing read.
VERDICT This engaging narrative, which is part biography, part veterinary science, and a full appreciation of the Asian elephant, aims to honor the wonder of the elephant and the cultures of the people that share their environment.

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