The Elephants Come Home: A True Story of Seven Elephants, Two People, and One Extraordinary Friendship

Chronicle. May 2021. 68p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781452127835.
Gr 1-3–This work recounts the story of Lawrence Anthony and Françoise Malby-Anthony and their lifelong bond with a herd of elephants at Thula Thula animal reserve in South Africa. The elephants were brought to Thula Thula for protection against poachers, but were anxious and destructive of their enclosure. Ultimately, Lawrence earns the elephants’ trust and their bond becomes so strong that after Lawrence’s death, the elephants return to his house from miles away and keep vigil there for three days with Françoise. The story is greatly simplified and emotional; the explanation of Lawrence’s death is brief and straightforward. The illustrations are expansive with a limited color palette of warm oranges and cool greens and blues. The animal characters are dynamic, humorous, and emotive. As for the human characters, Lawrence and Françoise are white, while Black characters are depicted in the roles of helpers; “hunters” are depicted in silhouette.
VERDICT A sentimental but high-interest story based on true events of the bond between wild animals and the humans who care for them, suitable for early elementary students.

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