Jacobson, Jennifer Richard.
SMALL AS AN ELEPHANT
Somerville, MA : Candlewick Press, 2011
IL 5-8, RL 6.3
Imagine you’re 11 years old. You’ve had a long car ride with your mother to a Maine camp ground and during the trip the two of you argue over a stop at a wild animal park to see an elephant. Now imagine you wake up the next day at the campground to find your mother, her car and all the camping gear gone. This is the situation Jack Martel finds himself in. He figures she’s probably just moved all their stuff to another campsite, so he sets out to enjoy himself…alone. But as time goes by and despite his efforts to contact his mom, there’s still no sign of her, and Jack grows increasingly afraid other campers will discover he’s been abandoned. He finds some comfort in a small, plastic elephant he has in his possession; it’s a reminder of a trip with his mother to the circus when he was four. Jack’s mother has a history of mental illness while Jack has an obsession with elephants. He loves his mother, in spite of her erratic behavior. When Jack realizes he won’t be able to find his mother, he decides to return to his home in Boston, and in need of food and shelter starts to make his way south. (Booktalk written by Suzanne Wall-GSF Committee/Merrimack Public Library)
Jack Martel has looked
forward all year to his camping trip with his mother to
Acadia National Park in Maine. But the first
morning, Jack wakes up to find his mother and all their
camping gear except the tent and his sleeping bag
gone. He tries her cell phone but she doesn’t
answer. Jack thinks that maybe she left because
they’d had an argument on the drive up about his
obsession with elephants and whether or not to stop and
see Lydia, Maine’s only living elephant, at a wild life
park. At first, Jack doesn’t panic. After
all, he’s used to his his mother’s erratic,
unpredictable behavior, what his calls her “spinning”
times, and has to fend for himself before for short
periods. But soon, he’s used up his $14 on
food, he ruins his cell phone, and his sleeping bag and
extra clothing are stolen. That is when Jack
devises a plan to get back home to Boston before the
authorities catch on and put him in a foster home or,
even worse, send him to live with his grandmother whom
his mother as always warned him against, on his
own. So, with no money, Jack takes off, sleeping
in churches and the backs of pickups, stealing
vegetables from gardens, and avoiding curious
adults. He also steals a small elephant figurine
which becomes his travel companion and a sort of
talisman. But when Jack decides to veer off his
journey to see Lydia, his plan falls apart as he
realizes that his part of a herd after all.
Abandoned children -- Fiction.
Mothers and sons -- Fiction.
Self-reliance -- Fiction.
Adventure and adventurers -- Fiction.
Survival -- Fiction.
New England -- Fiction.