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An Elephant in the Garden
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An Elephant in the Garden

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  1,815 ratings  ·  309 reviews
With Lizzie’s father fighting in World War II, her mother takes on the job of a zoo keeper to provide for her family. Lizzie, her mother, and her eight-year-old brother Karli have become especially attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene. The bombing of Dresden is imminent and soon, so the zoo director explains that as a precautionary measure all the animals must be...more
Hardcover, 199 pages
Published October 25th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends (first published 2010)
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Inspired by two true events described the afterword, this novel is narrated by an elderly woman (Lizzie) in a nursing home telling the story of her youth in Dresden Germany during World War II. Her mother was a zookeeper, who brought a young elephant home nightly to their private garden out of fear for the mammal's safety. When the bombing begins on a snowy winter night, Lizzie flees with her mother, younger brother, and Marlene, the elephant. They flee to the country, only to find a Canadian na...more
Book Concierge
A frail and elderly Lizzie tells the story of her youth in Dresden Germany during World War II. Her father was fighting on the Russian front. Her mother was a zookeeper and fearing for the safety of the young elephant, she brought the animal home each night to their private garden. But the war is taking a toll on everyone and when the bombing begins on a snowy February night the family must flee the burning city. How can they possibly evade enemy troops with an elephant in tow?

What a wonderful a...more
Carrie Dye
According to Michael Morpurgo (War Horse), “An Elephant in the Garden,” was inspired by a true story of an elephant rescued from the Belfast Zoo during WWII. The story begins in a nursing home in Canada with Lizzie, an aging woman who feels compelled to tell her life story to a 9 year old boy, the son of one of the nurses. Lizzie describes her life in Dresden, Germany during WWII. Lizzie and her younger brother are generally content until their father is sent to fight on the Russian front. The w...more
Anne Hamilton
Despite the intriguing title and the promise of a mystery revealed, this is a very slow book to start. I've read a lot of Morpurgo and none has the almost interminable creep of the first half of this book.

Morpurgo tries a variation on his usual framing device in this story and, rather than a tale of youth bookended by an adult narrator's musings, the reflections are interspersed throughout.

Lizzie is a solitary old woman in a nursing home who often speaks of the time she had an elephant in her g...more
Heather Johnson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alexis Travers
An Elephant in the Garden is about a family of three that lives in Dresden. Lizzie, Karli and their mom Mutti. Their father is fighting in World War II. Mutti works at a zoo, and has a very close relationship with this elephant. When they hear that Dresden is going to be bombed and they have to kill all the animals, Mutti forces the head of the zoo to let her keep the elephant Marlene in the garden. Unfortonaly Desden ended up getting bombed.Their family escaped just like may other families in t...more
Linda Lipko
I loved this book! It is yet another wonderful example of Young adult genre transcends a specific age category.

During WWII Dresden Germany was blasted/bombed unmercifully. This is a tale of an older woman, now in a nursing home, who recounts the story of her brave mother who worked in the zoo and fearing that an elephant she had tended since its childhood would die in the war, brought the animal home.

When Dresden was bombed the family left the ruined city and made a trek westward with the elepha...more
Annie
By the author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo. Inspired by a true story. (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/no...) One of the best historical novels I've read this year. As he writes in his author's note, Mr. Morpurgo was inspired by not only historical facts, but by his admiration for the animals he calls "the noblest and wisest, and most sensitive of all creatures." This is a story of kindness and love woven into the travesties of war. 9780312593698
Sonja Arlow
This was a children’s book (probably for ages between 9 and 12) verrrry loosely based on real events during WW2 where an elephant was rescued from a Belfast zoo.

It was a sweet story that only lightly touched on the horrors of the war and gave the perspective of Non-Nazi German citizens and their struggles with becoming fugitives in their own country. The characters felt a little flat and the story predictable but then again I am not the target reader.
Grayson Squire
Work off tardy



Lizzie mother get a job at the zoo, she’s a zoo keeper to provide for her family. Karli and her eight year old brother fall in love with an elephant name Marlene. The bombing is coming soon and they don't know what to do with all the animals, Lizzie mother asks if she can bring home the elephant to stay at their house. Bombing goes on and they are forced to leave their city. They aren't the only ones many others are leaving the city also. Their family has to find a place to live...more
Brenda

An Elephant in the Garden shares an unusual story of war. At the same time that it is devastating and tragic, it is uplifting and hopeful. Lizzie is old and frail; so fragile that she has been moved into a nursing home. The narrator of the book is a nurse there. She is also a single mom, so on weekends, snow days or days when she takes on extra hours her son Karl comes too. If the weather is right, he brings his friends and they play in the snow outside the home – often to the great delight of t...more
Julesmarie
3.5 stars

After finding out that there's a Scholastic warehouse not far from the school i teach at, i decided to get my students books as holiday gifts. As preparation, I had them select their favorite genre. I had two students choose historical fiction: a boy and a girl. The warehouse had War Horse, so I picked that up. And then I noticed this one nearby and thought I'd read it first before deciding whether to gift it or not.

Having the present-day bracket for the WWII story struck me as both a g...more
Alex Baugh
When 9 year old Karl is forced to go to work on weekends at a Canadian nursing home with his mother, a nurse, he finds himself drawn to an elderly patient name Lizzie. And the attraction is mutual. Karl is the only person there who believes Lizzie when she says that she once had an elephant in her garden. Slowly, Lizzie tell her story to Karl and his mother.

Lizzie had lived with her mother, a zookeeper, and her young brother Karli in Dresden, Germany during World War II. Though very much against...more
Nafisa Shabbir
An Elephant in the Garden:

Michael Morpurgo's Elephant in the Garden is about a family displaced by war. Set in Germany in 1945, it explores the story of Elizabeth, her brother Karli and their mother, not to mention their pet elephant Marlene! As a result of the war their father is enlisted to join the army forcing their mother to take on work at a local zoo. It is here that she comes across an orphaned elephant called Marlene who the family befriend. As a result of the war, and with Russian troo...more
Hannah Burgess
What a story! From the blurb on the back and the front cover of the book, it would have been hard to guess the story line, which prompts the saying 'never judge a book by it's cover!' This book tells the story of Lizzie who is a patient at a nursing home retelling of her tale of when there was an elephant in her garden. This story no one had believed before, until the son of one of the nurses insists that Lizzie tells him the whole story of the elephant. Lizzie's story is of how her mother had w...more
Wim Tapley
Wow Mr. Morpurgo, you've created another amazing story! After I read this book, I could not stop thinking about it, because it was just such a beautiful story. I love how you went so in depth with the characters, and I love animals, so naturally you are like my favorite author. I would like to thank you for writing this, because I enjoyed reading it so much! I would recommend this book to anyone with a sense of adventure and the love of animals!
Audrey
I read this book to do a book club with an 8-year-old. It's difficult for me to rate this book because it was geared toward children and the character development was pretty surface. It is an intriguing story though, and I look forward to the discussion with the 8-year-old.
Discoverylover
This comes under the hard to resist pile! I went in to a bookshop looking for something completely different and found this (and what I was looking for!), and read it the same day :D

Morpurgo is one of my favourite authors of all time, right next to Neil Gaiman (somehow I like English writers!), and this fascinating story did nothing to dispel him from my list!

Once again, he took a historical even I knew very little about, gave it an interesting twist, made me intrigued, and it even had a happy...more
Bobby
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fauziyyah Arimi
(As it posted here)

Novel ini disajikan dengan Lizzie yang flashback kehidupan remajanya, menceritakan kisah spesialnya kepada seorang anak suster di panti jompo (tempat tinggalnya yang baru) bernama Karl. Nama yang sama yang dimiliki adik laki-lakinya.

Ibu Lizzie adalah seorang penjaga kebun binatang. Saat perang berlangsung, Dresden saat itu belum dihujani bom tapi hanya menunggu waktu sebelum Dresden jadi sasaran berikutnya. Direktur kebun binatang memutuskan untuk menembak mati hewan-hewan be...more
Au-co
I think the target audience for this book is ages 12 and under, and that might have been the reason why I was so bored throughout. But I think part of it was also the writing as well as the plot. The story itself is told by an elderly German woman, so I the author tried to emanate her accent and speech in the telling. However, this often made the writing repetitive and very passive. The whole account feels more like a summary of events rather than the events itself. He was clearly telling us a s...more
Mary Ann
The most fascinating thing about this book is that the story is based on truth, so truth is obviously stranger than fiction! Told from the bed of an old lady in a nursing home, this is a look back to her escape from Germany during the end of World War II. And yes, there is an elephant who accompanies them! For young people who can't get enough of WWII stories and fans of historical fiction.
Sarah Lawrence
I love elephants and historical fiction, and I was intrigued to read something by the author of War Horse , even if I didn't like the movie.

It wasn't bad, but it wasn't fantastic. I guess it's been a long time since I've read something so simplistic. Mostly I just lost respect for this book when a 16-year-old girl fell in love at almost-first-sight with a 21-year-old soldier...(view spoiler). Seriously? Because no 16-year-old in end-of-WWII Germany has anyt...more
Louise
another one for me and the slightly war obsessed children.... I'm really coming around to morpurgo...he has a real warmth to his characters and stories, and humour too....
we were al,l pleasantly surprised by the ending, and enjoyed the tale of getting an elephant out of a city being bombed and travelling safely to help.
Brianna
this book was very interesting. It was very descriptive also. If you like fantasy and story tales then this would bi the book for you. It starts off kind or different,but don't stop there because it gets to a point where you don't want to put it down. I really liked it and i think you will to.
Shazzer
Not Murpurgo's best, but a good, solid story that mixes the fantastical animal relationship with the devastating hardships of war. The structure of the storytelling could have used some work, but the magic is in the story itself, in its heart, with an ending like a warm smile.
C.
An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo
Lizzie and Karl’s mother is a zoo keeper; the family has become attached to an orphaned elephant named Marlene, who will be destroyed as a precautionary measure so she and the other animals don’t run wild should the zoo be hit by bombs. The family persuades the zoo director to let Marlene stay in their garden instead. When the city is bombed, the family flees with thousands of others, but how can they walk the same route when they have an elephant in...more
Heather
Absolutely brilliant. Michael Morpurgo is a master story teller and he's done it again.

What a wonderful book. The story is related by an old lady Lizzie, in a nursing home to the Nurse and her son Karl.

The story related is about when Lizzie was younger, they lived in Dresden. She had a happy childhood, then the war came. Her father went away to fight and her mother works in the zoo looking after the animals. Lizzie and her little brother Karli find that one day there really is an elephant in t...more
Jeana
An Elephant in the Garden is a really sweet story about a German family during WWII. This was a quick read that tugged at the heartstrings and teaches the value of compassion for all.
Bug
so sad & so happy
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Michael Morpurgo is the author of many books for children, five of which have been made into films. He also writes his own screenplays and libretti for opera. Born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in 1943, he was evacuated to Cumberland during the last years of the war, then returned to London, moving later to Essex. After a brief and unsuccessful spell in the army, he took up teaching and started to...more
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