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An Elephant in the Garden

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  3,501 Ratings  ·  498 Reviews
Title: Elephant in the Garden Binding: Hardcover Author: Michael Morpurgo Publisher: COLLINS CHILDREN'S BOOKS
Hardcover, 233 pages
Published May 27th 2010 by HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks (first published 2009)
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Aug 07, 2014 Skip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
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
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.
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
Heather Johnson
Mar 04, 2013 Heather Johnson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anne Hamilton
Dec 21, 2012 Anne Hamilton rated it liked it
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
Lauren Stoolfire
During WWII, Lizzie's mother works as a zookeeper to help provide for her family while her husband is away fighting. Lizzie, her mother, and her younger brother become especially attached to a young orphaned elephant named Marlene. With the bombings of Dresden imminent, the zoo animals are going to be put down as a precautionary measure, but Lizzie's mother gets permission to let the elephant stay in family garden. As the bombs begin to fall, city residents, including Lizzie's family along with ...more
Aug 09, 2013 Don rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had a Barnes and Noble email the other day that mentioned "An Elephant in the Garden" as a listing in the children's books, then went on to say it was by Michael Morpurgo the author of "War Horse." I thought I would check it out. Found it in the children's section at Central Library.

In this story a German family escapes the Dresden bombing with the young elephant the mother has been taking care of at the zoo. The odd group of refugees form a family escaping towards the Americans and away from
Robinson Y7
Oct 25, 2016 Robinson Y7 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story is probably a true story. 1940, England, Lizzy, her mother and her eight year old brother, Karli, are in deadly World War ii. They live in a small village, and have experienced various traumatizing bombings from the Nazis. When their village's zoo is getting bombed, no one helps the helpless animals in despair, except for empathetic Karli and his family. They try to save all the animals but they don't manage to save all of them, except an adorable elephant named Marlene! They have to ...more
Alexis Travers
Apr 17, 2013 Alexis Travers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 23, 2012 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, history
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
Apr 07, 2012 Annie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By the author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo. Inspired by a true story. (see 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
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
Jul 28, 2012 Brenda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Nafisa Shabbir
Aug 17, 2012 Nafisa Shabbir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Hannah Burgess
Jul 24, 2012 Hannah Burgess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
This international book is written by an award winning British author, Michael Morpurgo. You might know him from his book, "War Horse." The touching story begins with an elderly woman, Elizabeth, beginning her story by telling of how an “elephant was in her garden” to a nurse and her son in a nursing home. Elizabeth begins her story by telling about growing up in Dresden, Germany at the start of WWII. The story follows her through the course of the war, but the excitement in the book really begi ...more
RLL22016_Ashley Heath
I honestly read this book in one day because I could not put it down! What feels like what should be a slow start grabs you right from the beginning and does not let up until the last page. The story has every bit of greatness you yearn from a book: historical basis, family dynamics, endless amounts of hope, hints of wild imagination, happy memories from your childhood, and of course, a love story.

The story starts with a woman in a nursing home, looking to tell her story, the story no one belie
Sep 24, 2012 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful tale of a families survival during WW2 - survival by elephant, you might say! Papi has been sent to the Russian front to fight, and Mutti is working for the zoo in Dresden when the zoo director tells his staff the plans for killing the zoo animals when the inevitable bombing of Dresden begins. Mutti can't bear the idea of killing Marlene, the orphan baby elephant, now just 4 years old. She convinced the zoo director to let her take Marlene home with her, across the park, where she can ...more
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
Grayson Squire
Apr 15, 2014 Grayson Squire rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Katie Bettis
Feb 01, 2017 Katie Bettis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story An Elephant in The Garden by Michael MorPurgo is about an old woman who is telling Karl and his mother about how when she was younger, she had an elephant in the garden. Her father was in the war, so it was just her, Karli, and her mother. Her mother, who works at the zoo, fell in love with an elephant, Marlene, found out that they had to kill the animals because the bombers were coming soon, so she decided to keep Marlene. Then, one day, they went out for a walk and the bombers came. ...more
May 28, 2013 Brianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Oct 10, 2012 Louise rated it liked it
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.
Jen Brown
Aug 03, 2015 Jen Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh God. First Morpurgo book I've ever read. And I really liked it. It was so sweet and still you could somehow see the cruelty and damage of war. I know this book is technically for children, but I'm sure any adult can enjoy it. It's simple and at the same time it touches some tricky topics.
I would totally recommend it if you're looking for a light reading but still full of emotion.
May 20, 2014 Audrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
Jun 18, 2015 Chhaya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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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