Friday, January 29, 2010

The Elephant Keeper by Christopher Nicholson~★★★★

Author: Christopher Nicholson
The Elephant Keeper
Release Date:
August 4th, 2009
William Morrow

Book Jacket: "England 1766: After a long voyage from the East Indies, a ship docks in Bristol, England, and a rumor quickly spreads about its unsafe cargo---some say a mermaid is on board. A crowd forms, hoping to catch a glimpse of the magical creature. One crate after another is unpacked: a zebra, a leopard, and a baboon. There's no mermaid, but in the final two crates is something almost as magical---a pair of young elephants, in poor health but alive.
Seeing a unique opportunity, a wealthy sugar merchant purchases the elephants for his country estate and turn their care over to a young stable boy, Tom Page. Tom's family has long cared for horses, but an elephant is something different altogether. It takes time for Tom and the elephants to understand one another, but to the surprise of everyone on the estate, a remarkable bond in formed.
The Elephant Keeper, the story of Tom and the elephants, in Tom's own words, moves from the green fields and woods of the English countryside to the dark streets and alleys of late-eighteenth-century London, reflecting both the beauty and the violence of the age. Nicholson's lush writing and deft storytelling complement a captivating tale of love and loyalty between one man and two elephants that change the lives of all who meet them."
Taryn's Review: When I was in the 7th grade, my teacher decided we had to write our own little books to share with younger children. My book was about a boy who found a baby elephant and tried to keep him in his garage. When I saw the cover of the book, I picked it up off the New Fiction shelf since it brought back the warm fuzzy feelings of my little book about an elephant!
I am glad that I picked this book because for the first two parts of the book, I really loved this book. Tom Page was such a great character and the elephants (yes, elephants!) were written so well. Tom was amazed by the elephants and that awe taught Tom to protect the elephants and love them. He privately named them Jenny and Timothy and spent most of his time with them.

I was so captivated by the story in the first two parts of the book and was thrilled to read such a refreshing book. It was different, yet believable; the topic was so interesting to think about...what kind of exotic animals were brought back to England during the Expedition ages (people for that matter, too)?

However, the third part was a big let-down. I'm not sure where the author was trying to take the book, but I didn't like it. Tom and Jenny were now living in London, and Tom's venture back to his hometown seemed unconvincing. Also, the sudden obsession with an old sweetheart by the name of Lizzy Tindall really made the last part drag.

Despite the poor ending, the the first two portions of the book were spectacular. I would have gladly given this book a 5-star review had the last part been better. Nicholson is a gorgeous writer and I look forward to his next book (hopefully with some improvements regarding book endings!).

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