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An Elephant in the Garden

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  6,087 ratings  ·  770 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 2009)
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Donya Yes at first she did say she did not believe Lizzie and then changed her mind in the middle of the book and then changed her mind again to "almost always".
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  6,087 ratings  ·  770 reviews

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Ana Ovejero
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
The story happens in Germany in 1945. The war is ending and the terrifying Red Army is coming closer and closer to Dresden, the city where Elizabeth, the protagonist, lives. She shares her home with her mum Mutti, her dad Papi and her little brother Karli.

Papi is sent to the front and the family has to survive in a time when food becomes scarce. Mutti works in the zoo and her favourite animal is Marlene, a young elephant, named after the singer Marlene Dietrich, When the bombs of the Allies star
Feb 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Light and easy YA read. I liked how the story was about an elephant and a family determined to save her. It wasn't a typical WWII story which made it more interesting. It became a sweet love story. Older ppl have fantastic stories of their younger days and we should definitely be better listeners.

My 3.5 stars is only bc I felt there was more details missing. The characters also seemed ignorant in believing they (as in country of residence) can start a war and kill innocent people but when they g
La Tonya  Jordan
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to La Tonya by: One 'N Done Book Corner on GoodReads
Shelves: favorites
A delightful read of a German family during the end of WWII. Their city of Dresden was decimated in bombing. They trekked through the countryside with Marlene, a four year elephant, who Mutti saved from the city zoo. This journey bonded them as a family in the struggle against the snow, cold weather, hungry, the sounds of bombing and rifle shots in the distance behind them, and other refugees. First making it to Uncle Manfred and Auntie Lottie's farm and finding Peter, the Canadian navigator. Pe ...more
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jammin Jenny
I really enjoyed this book where a woman relates her story from during WWII (she was a young woman). They were escaping through the countryside with Marlena the elephant. It was a touching and inspirational stories.
Heather Johnson
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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
Carrie Dye
Mar 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Linda Lipko
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
I own this book.

This book is told from the point of view of Lizzie, an elderly woman in a care home who knows nobody but little Karl believes that during the war, she had an elephant in her garden. When Karl's mum allows her to tell her whole story to Karl, she tells a story of her and her siblings and their survival in 1940s German with an elephant in the garden. Like my previous reading of Shadow, this book seems whimsical, but it was actually a thing where elephants lived with their zookee
The Dusty Jacket
Lizzie is eighty-two years old and is idly spending her days in a nursing home. But today is February 13th and on this particular day, she has a story to tell. It’s a rather sad story because on this day, in 1945, the bombers flew over Dresden, Germany and set the city on fire. Lizzie, her brother, and her mother are forced to flee their home. The Red Army is coming from the east and the allied forces—the Americans and British—are coming from the west. They would go west, but they would not be g ...more
Lauren Stoolfire
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Meyers Cooper Debbie
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's always a great day when books unexpectedly show up in your classroom. It becomes an even better day when this book is nestled contently within the confines of that box waiting for you to discover it. The title instantly attracted me to this book. How does an elephant just casually live in the garden? Once I read the brief synopsis on the back, it didn't take much convincing that I needed to read this book. Within the first few chapters of Lizzie's story, I realized that this story needed to ...more
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Alexis Travers
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With Michael Morpurgo you know exactly what your getting, a tale with an animal set around a war. This time an Elephant in Germany during the Second World War.
As soon as you slip into this tale you know your in great company, a perfect read.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A YA WW2 Story with a truly unique POV

The American book market is, its fair to say, absolutely saturated with WW2 fiction for both children and adults. There are many good stories out there - starting with Anne Frank, of course, and moving on through contemporary classics such as Number the Stars and The Book Thief. This sweet tale deserves a junior status alongside the greats.
Based loosely on the dual true stories of zookeepers who saved their charges during the war and the Feb 1945 devastati
Robinson Y7
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Easy to read and a beautiful heart warming story and family togetherness during the difficult time of war. And the elephant well read it to find out 💖
Room 204
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think the book was great. I wrote a essay on it so here it is.

There are many different ways that characters were self centered. Just some of the characters who were self centered at times were: Mutti,Lizzie, and Hans. They were self centered in different situations. Although, they all cared about themselves at first,but then came to care more about others. Michael Morpurgo uses the craft technique symbolism in An Elephant in the Garden. I inferred that Marlene running away the second time. is
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
Am is supposed to enjoy this or what...
I don't know why I brought so many Michael Morpurgo.. I was thinking private peaceful.. but they all are turning too childish for me..


Oh no..

I am old now.. 😓😓😓😓
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sophie Crane
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, history
This is one of the best Michael Morpurgo's book I have ever read. (though I say that ever time ;-) I would rate this 10/10 and definitely recommend this to a friend. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. the emotions were real and felt true bringing me in to the story and the shoes of the characters. I will read this over and over again and I think Michael morpurgo is amazing ... keep writing ! ...more
Tiffany Martin
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyable story about a lady who works as a nurse in a nursing home and her son, Karl, and how he befriends one of the elderly ladies who stays there, named Lizzie. Lizzie wants to tell Karl about her past and she tells both Karl and his mom about how she had a brother named Karl (Karli) and how they were affected by WWII and had to leave home and travel, by foot, with an elephant her mom had rescued from the zoo she worked at. All the other animals were shot because the bombs were soon to come ...more
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ks2
An Elephant in the Garden sees an elderly Lizzie telling the unbelievable story of her childhood in war-torn Germany. With a father away fighting and a mother terrified for the safety of the animals she cares for at the local zoo, Lizzie is an ordinary child with completely relatable feelings.

Things soon become more unusual when her mother brings Marlene, a young elephant, home to ensure her safety in the bombings. With the war evident all around them, the family must escape to safety. But, with
Odith Senerath
Aug 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Germany,1945.Elizabeth, Karli and their mother are in Dresden when the allied bombs begin to fall. Their home destroyed, they must flee the ruined City through the perilous, snow-covered landscape, all the while avoiding the Russian troops, who are drawing ever closer. It would be hard enough to do without an elephant to look after...
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is about people who are in Germany in 1945, when the Allied bombs begin to fall. Their home is destroyed and they had to leave the destroyed city, however the ground was covered in snow. They had to avoid the Russian troops who are coming closer to the city. However, through all of this, they have to look after an elephant. This book is very gripping because it makes you feel like you are in the book, as the emotions of the people make you connect to the characters. However, I would im ...more
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Interesting view of a world war two story.
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Sir Michael Andrew Morpurgo, OBE, FRSL 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 Second World War, then returned to London, moving later to Essex. After a brief and unsuccessful spell in the army, ...more

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