The Elephant (Peter Carnavas, UQP)
The Elephant is the first junior-fiction novel from Peter Carnavas, who is well known for his gentle, heartfelt picture books. Olive lives with her Grandad, her Dad, and—even if no-one else can see it—her Dad’s elephant. It’s a big, grey, unwelcome visitor that prevents Olive’s dad from being happy, and Olive knows that he needs some help to chase it away. With assistance from her best friend, and some advice from her loving and sympathetic grandfather, Olive concocts a plan to finally rid her dad of the sadness that follows him around. Told in concise chapters and punctuated with delicate illustrations, Carnavas paints a portrait of a small family coming to terms with a tragedy through love, community, memory and friendship. This tender story shows how grief and depression can be a prominent force in the lives of children and how it affects entire families. But ultimately, it’s a story about the empathetic and resilient Olive and her ability to find joy in unlikely places. It is highly recommended for young readers aged six and up.
Lian Hingee is the digital marketing manager at Readings