A Review of "When Anju Loved Being an Elephant" in Catholic Library World
When Anju was five years old, she was captured and separated from her elephant herd in Sumatra. Anju spent thirty-five years performing in American circuses. When she was too old for the circus, Anju was sold to a small zoo where she was the only elephant. Anju finds that she is not happy being an elephant. After fifteen years on her own, Anju is sent to a new home. Anju is surprised to find that she is no longer confined to a small space and that she no longer wears chains. Not only is Anju roaming free outside, she has joined an elephant herd. She is once again happy to be an elephant. This is a fictional story, but there are many elephants in America who have experienced this life. The reader will appreciate the loneliness Anju feels. The text is simple but captures the pathos of elephants that are forced to live solitary lives. John Butler’s illustrations are stunning. They are detailed and capture the emotions Anju experiences through her life. The book ends with some elephant facts and suggestions on how to help elephants. Teachers can include this book when studying animals. This is a book that will alert young readers to the fact that animals, such as elephants, have feelings and should be treated with respect. Ages 5-10.