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When Anju Loved Being an Elephant
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When Anju Loved Being an Elephant

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  38 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Growing up on the Indonesian island of Sumatra with its cooling lakes and refreshing mud holes, Anju loved being an elephant. Loving cared for and proetected by her mother and herd family, there was nowhere else Anju would rather be.
That all changed when she was stolen and sold to an American circus. Anju spends decades traveling across the country, entertaining crowds. Af
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Sleeping Bear Press
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Jul 09, 2012 Peacegal rated it it was amazing
When Anju Loved Being an Elephant is a wonderful, touching book.

If you've ever found yourself dismayed by the "free pass" animal circuses get in children's literature, you will be heartened by the more nuanced view of this book. Anju, like many elephants in years past, was captured in the wilds of Asia. She is shuttled from circus to circus, never knowing if her new trainer will be kind or cruel, and never getting to form lasting bonds with other elephants. Finally, in her golden years, Anja fin
May 26, 2012 Liz rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2012-13
Beautifully illustrated book about an elephant who is finally being "released" after almost fifty years of captivity, first as a circus performer and then as the only elephant in a small zoo. The elephant sanctuary where Anju is taken is finally a happy place, with other elephant "friends." Obvious comparisons can be made to the wonderful THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, though it is based on the life of a real captive gorilla. I enjoyed reading all of the elephant facts in the back of the book and the ...more
Sandy Brehl
Full disclaimer-I've been an elephant sanctuary advocate for several decades. This is an excellent fictionalized version of the process and the backstory of the life of captive elephants. In this case it is a fairly gentle version of the life led by captive elephants, so it works for all ages. Many middle grade books have been released recently featuring elephant characters or symbols. This story, simple as it is, offers realistic information about the potential for eventual rehabbing and ...more
Jan 05, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jp, animals
Beautiful illustrations and careful wording introduce children into the understanding of the types of miseries elephants endure in circuses. It is never graphic, only suggestive, but gives enough lead for parents to gently explain the reality themselves. A good choice for parents trying to foster empathy and awareness in their little ones. Seeing old and tired Anju back with a herd again to live as a real elephant is a wonderful moment.
Feb 26, 2012 Kendra rated it really liked it
Now I have a particular fondness for "free the animals" type stories, but I really think this one is very well done. It gives children the perspective from the elephant's eyes (or as much as the author can guess the elephant is thinking or feeling) instead of the handler's or some conservationist's perspective. It's honest (sad) enough to make children (and adults) care about the situation and empathize with the elephant. Such a sweet and beautifully illustrated story.
Oct 20, 2011 Christiane rated it liked it
Anju is coaxed up the ramp of a trailer truck, unsure where she is going or what is going to happen now. As she travels, she remembers her early life with her herd in Indonesia, as well as less good times when she was in a circus and a zoo. Her final destination turns out to be an elephant sanctuary where she can once more roam free with other elephants. The expressive watercolor illustrations are perfect for this gentle, non-preachy story of an elephant coming home.
Nov 03, 2011 Jessi rated it liked it
While I felt this book was a good introduction to the subject of treating animals kindly (or even a gentle way to explain animal cruelty or the horrors of animal circuses to children), and the illustrations were beautiful, it felt like something was missing from the story. I realize that this book could not go into too much detail, because the target audience is children, but the plot left something to be desired.
Nov 02, 2011 Shelli rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Extremely touching book about an elephants reflections on life. Of course this is fictional, however, the story line is based on many performing elephants lives and many changes that occur during their journey. Mixed in with lots of amazing pachyderm facts as well. Great book but keep your tissue box near by.
Paul  Hankins
Lovely! Immediate "Ladders" to Katherine Applegate's THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN (January 2012) and Lynne Kelly's CHAINED (June 2012)! Butler's illustrations make the reader feel for the elephant as much as Henrick's beautiful rendering of Anju's story.
Sharon Lawler
Beautiful picture book about Anju, an elephant who is kidnapped and sold into captivity. Great choice for children not ready for the chapter books with a similar message (Chained, Tua and the Elephant, One and Only Ivan).
I thought the book was very well written and the illustrations very vibrant. though the book was a bit too long for a story time book.
Dec 30, 2011 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: j-programming
Great book to introduce the services animal santcutaries provide. I teared up when Anju met her new family.
Oct 03, 2011 Nance rated it it was ok
Good illustrations; good language; a little preachy
Kara Zone
Kara Zone rated it liked it
Sep 28, 2015
Joan Parker
Joan Parker rated it it was amazing
Feb 25, 2013
Andrea Hall
Andrea Hall rated it really liked it
Jun 26, 2012
Bridget R. Wilson
Bridget R. Wilson rated it liked it
Nov 04, 2011
Miss Melissa
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Oct 12, 2011
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Apr 20, 2012
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May 05, 2012
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Jun 20, 2012
Nov 04, 2011 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: animals, 2011
This book makes me want to free all the elephants in captivity. Poor Anju! :(
Bryan rated it really liked it
Aug 30, 2016
Jasmine rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2016
Katie Bible
Katie Bible rated it it was ok
Sep 21, 2015
Cathy rated it liked it
Dec 29, 2011
Amanda rated it it was amazing
Dec 03, 2011
V rated it really liked it
Nov 26, 2013
Makayla Ginnis
Makayla Ginnis rated it it was amazing
Nov 04, 2015
Pinky rated it liked it
Jan 27, 2014
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Wendy Henrichs was inspired to write I Am Tama, Lucky Cat when she adopted two cats. One of them had a habit of raising her paw while sitting, just like a Japanese Lucky Cat figurine. Curiosity about the legends behind Lucky Cat led her to the story of Tama. She lives in Iowa.
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