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The Girl Who Stole an Elephant
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The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  863 ratings  ·  158 reviews
Chaya, a no-nonsense, outspoken hero, leads her friends and a gorgeous elephant on a noisy, fraught, joyous adventure through the jungle where revolution is stirring and leeches lurk. Will stealing the queen’s jewels be the beginning or the end of everything for the intrepid gang?
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 2nd 2020 by Nosy Crow
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Connie I read this book and it was really good!I think it should be for age 7-10 year olds...I am older than that and I did find it a bit easy - but a really…moreI read this book and it was really good!I think it should be for age 7-10 year olds...I am older than that and I did find it a bit easy - but a really good book!(less)
Saoirse This book is aged at eight- to ten-year olds. Anyone much older than that would, most likely, find it boring.

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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  863 ratings  ·  158 reviews

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Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
A very enjoyable, adventurous middle grade read that plunges you deep into the jungle!

I'm so happy this was such a fun read to kick off Middle Grade Monthly with in 2020. This is fast-paced with short chapters, making it a quick and easy read. Chaya, our heroine, seems to be a bit of a klepto - she steals the Queen's jewels, gets her best friend arrested, then has to work out how to break him out of jail. She makes so many terrible decisions, but for all the right reasons.

I liked Chaya as a char
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommended to Sara by: Gavin
Read for the Middlegrade Monthly book club January 2020.

Chaya is a rebellious child. Daughter to the headman of her village, she’s a free spirit who takes trinkets from the rich to help those in need. Except one day she goes too far, and steals the Queen’s jewels - leading to an escape into the jungle with her friends. And the King’s elephant.

I want to start by saying that there was so much to love in this book. The setting is wonderfully lush and vivid in description, and I could almost imagi
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really, really wanted to love this book. But there are things I just can’t overlook. Chaya wasn’t a rebel or hero to me; she was a mean, arrogant girl that treats people who are different from her like shit. The girl on girl hate was so stupid to me. I didn’t feel that there were any consequences for Chaya and her appalling behavior. Furthermore the events in the story were too convenient for me. I found it highly annoying that ‘the good side’ worked together with bandits who kill elephants fo ...more
Hana Tooke
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read an early version of this book. Aimed at readers aged 9-12, this thrilling adventure through the jungle touches on themes of loyalty, bravery and friendship. Robin Hood meets The Explorer, in the wonderfully vivid/exotic island setting of Serendib, which is beautifully described throughout.

Chaya is an endearingly cheeky, loyal, brave and fierce protagonist who you can’t help but immediately root for, even when we meet her after she’s just stolen a pocketful of jewels. The story gets going
Oct 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month January 2020


The Girl Who Stole an Elephant perfectly recreates the heat and vibrance of a Sri Lankan jungle. From the descriptions of traditional Lankan food to the flora and fauna on the island, it easy to see the genuine nostalgia with which this was written. The characters stood up well as individuals which worked to represent the cultural diversity of Sri Lanka. Also the
Irfan Khan
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jan 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Read- January 2020 for The Middle Grade Monthly Book Club hosted by Gavin and Jade.
Mishma Nixon
This is the book that I wish I had as a child. This unapologetically Sri Lankan middle grade had me crying because man have I waited forever to see my country depicted this way in a book. The story follows Chaya – a mini Robin Hood – in a thrilling adventure about rebellion and friendship. Chaya was so realistically flawed and I loved that the story let her grow and learn.
Madhulika Liddle
Jan 19, 2021 rated it liked it
Twelve year old Chaya is adept at stealing trinkets from the rich to help her poor fellow villagers pay for things their tyrannical King should rightly be providing. But when she steals the queen's jewels, Chaya suddenly finds herself in deep trouble. Plus, trouble that involves and endangers the lives of others close to her: her father, her best friend, the apprentice carpenter Neel, and the other villagers of Nirissa. Along with a newcomer named Nour, who hails from the deserts across the seas ...more
Jan 06, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book to review.

Chaya, wishing to help her friend get money to recover from his injuries, steal jewels from the Queen. As a result, her best friend gets arrested, a runaway ensues and she befriends the King’s (stolen) elephant.

This was a very enjoyable middle grade full of adventure! This book was full of diversity in characters as well as culture, which is always refreshing in any genre—but especially in middle grade
Chaya steals to help others, but she wants to do it all on her own. Even when her friend Neel tried to help her, as does her new friend Nour. At the beginning of the book, I had no sympathy for her.

But as we see why she is doing these things, that this is not just for kicks, do we understand how strongly she is fighting for things to go right.

What I especially like is that people keep assuming that Neel, the boy, has been doing all the thieving, rather than giving her credit. Sometimes this work
Mar 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this one a little more than I did. It sounded right up my street, with lots of jungle action, and one of the main characters being an elephant. It fell a little flat for me, which was largely because I just didn't like Chaya. She's described in the blurb as being 'no nonsense.' In reality, I just found her a bit of a bully, and whilst some of her intentions were honourable, her methods were often questionable.

I really loved the setting, and I will never get bored of books that h
Elyse (ElyseReadsandSpeaks)
This was cute. It was like Aladdin meets Robin Hood with a female protagonist.

Chaya is a young girl who steals from the rich to support the poor people in her village. She steals with the best of intentions and even tried to take the Queen's jewels back once she saw the tragedy her actions were bringing down on village. Unfortunately, it was too late and Chaya, along with her friends Neel and Nour, became fast enemies of the king as they staged a jailbreak and stole his elephant.

This story was
Jan 24, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
I really enjoyed this book and the adventure that it takes you on. My only dislike is how the story seems to end quite suddenly and feels a little rushed. However, Nizrana Farook tells a beautiful story about adventure, friendship and bravery. To begin with I found Chaya a little annoying but after a while she developed into a more caring and considerate person which was a joy to read. I would definitely recommend this story to children in my class!
Sietske (Thebooksofwonder)
I wanted to enjoy this but unfortunately I didn't. The first part of the book I really enjoyed and thought Chaya was such a badass girl. But in the middle-part and ending she changed into a annoying and arrogant person.

Some things in the story went over so quickly or didn't make any sense. And that ending was so bad like what the hell. 😅
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Such a fun and endearing story!
The atmospheric narrative, coupled with a bold girl as main character, spreading mischief tangled with good intentions, kept me entertained throughout. Seriously want to offer this to all the kids out there.
Tris The Book Whisperer
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was every bit as wonderful as I'd hoped. A Utopian combination of adventure, colour, complex friendships, & a wonderfully flawed MC who does all the wrong things for all the right reasons. Perfection. I defy anyone not to love this book! ...more
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a cute story. I liked it. Not one of my faves, but not bad either.
Jan 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Sorry this wasnt for me. Whilst the main plot was fine, I really did not like Chaya the main character of the book.
Nicola Penfold
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is such a lovely adventure, and Nizrana Farook shows herself to be a master of plot, with short pacey chapters and cliff hanger endings. Brilliant characterisation overall, but Chaya the main character is an actual delight. She's reckless, brave, stroppy, good. I giggled out loud at some of the things she said and did. This is classic middle grade adventure, in a rich and sumptuous setting, and should be in all junior school libraries! ...more
Greta Loves Books
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a fun read.
Read for Middle Grade Monthly
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: friends-books

I read this while visiting family and they had it on their bookshelf, so I thought "Why not!" The cover looked good and I was told it was a good book, so I gave it a go.

The main characters and their backgrounds were well written. The sub and background characters were not as well written, but then it wasn't essential. This allowed more focus to be put on the main characters which was good. Focus was put more on the main character who was a bit obnoxious and the story was told mostly from her
-`ˏ Galaxi Faerie ˎ´˗
-`ˏ 3 stars ˎ´˗

Everyone will experience the consequences of his own acts. If his act is right, he'll get good consequences; if they're not, he'll suffer for it. — Harry Brown

Storyline: -`ˏ 5/10 ˎ´˗
A thrilling adventure of a klepto-Robin Hood and friends, saving (and destroying) their village in an attempt to earn money to save a boy's leg.

Characters: -`ˏ 4/10 ˎ´˗
Chaya is a disaster on the loose. Whoever crosses her way seems to face losses. “Who would have thought the villagers would turn agains
Dec 24, 2020 rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this one because the premise sounded delightful and animals are my favourite elephants; I thought it sounded exactly like my thing but sadly I was let down by it.

The premise is good and Chaya is mostly a brilliant character; a modern-day, female, robin-hood-esque character, stealing from the rich to help the poor, but my good she was a difficult character at times and was just so flat out uncomfortably rude that she drove me a bit nuts. She was a difficult character to em
Christina Reid
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow, this book certainly doesn't pause to let you catch your breath! I read this in one sitting, with the shirt chapters and hectic pace leaving me unable to put it down, even for a minute. This is an original, exciting adventure following Chaya, Neel and Nour as they flee from the forces of law arrayed against them after Chaya steals jewels from the Queen, then uses the King's prize elephant as a getaway vehicle.
I loved the dynamics between the three children as they get to know each other, Cha
Mar 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021, rc-21
A fun adventure with a young Robin Hood type heroine, who pilfers from the rich to help the poor. When she goes too far in her pilfering, and takes some of the queen's jewels, she sets in motion a chain of events that involves elephant stealing, danger to her friends and family, a perilous journey through the jungle, and ultimately the overthrow of the tyrannical king. I think this one will have lots of Gen Z appeal--Chaya has identified a problem the adults aren't dealing with, and is plunging ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an exciting adventure story which really places you in the jungles of Serendib which are beautifully described. Chaya is a fun character, fearless and fiercely loyal to her friends. She is used to stealing things to help out the villagers but this time she has taken things a bit too far, by stealing the queen's jewels, and her friend is getting the blame. It was great fun watching the mayhem she gets up to and reading her cheeky comments and I laughed out loud several times. Neel and Nou ...more
Kelly Gagne
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020-reading
I really just didn't enjoy this book. Chaya as a main character was really mean and arrogant and I don't think she had any consequences.

The plot itself was ok but lacking in believability. The ending was ridiculously convenient.

I did love the atmosphere though and it was definitely a quick read. Neel and Nour were great.

I listened to the audio book of this and the narrators were excellent so if you are going to read this I recommend going for the audio book.
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Nizrana Farook was born and raised in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and the beautiful landscapes of her home country find their way into the stories she writes. She has a master’s degree in writing for young people, and lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and two daughters.

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