An Elephant in the Garden
In the last months of the Second World War, Dresden was reduced to rubble by the Royal Air Force bomber units, with thousands left dead.
Peter, a twenty-one-year-old Canadian radio operator, is the sole surviver after his plane was shot down and he is now hiding in the barn of an abandoned farmyard. There he meets a family who has been bombed out: sixteen-year-old Elisabeth, her nine-year-old brother Karl and their resolute mother, who, as a zoo keeper, was able to save the female elephant named Marlene from the zoo and is taking her with.
The mother sees Peter as an evil enemy and a murderer, her son sees him as a possible friend and Elisabeth falls in love with a man for the first time – a man who, however, is supposed to be the enemy.
The Canadian, who understands and speaks German because of his German-speaking mother, has a compass with him and wants to use it to go to an area where the Americans are on the advance. The family of three also wants to head west to flee from the advancing Soviet army.
Thus, the four have to rely on each other and set out on the week-long walk. The ways in which the elephant helps them again and again are depicted very vividly and realistically.
The book is a story about love, war, youth and animals, all rolled into one.
Ages 12 and up
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