Review Detail

 
Kids Fiction
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
N/A

Victorian Adventure

Boy has lived a difficult life in the impoverished neighborhoods of Edinburgh, Scotland in the 1870s. With no parents, he scrounges for food and clothing with other urchins, and is prey to petty crime lords who work him hard and treat him badly. When he is found by Mr. Jameson at an animal auction, Boy's exotic, ethnic looks encourage the entrepreneur to take Boy along with him to help with his new purchase-- an elephant named Maharajah. Thinking that it would add to the drama of the story, Jameson decides that Boy (whom he names Danny) would make a great Indian prince, named Dandip. Along with Sandev, who has been working with Maharajah, Danny helps take care of the elephant, who has been mistreated by his previous owners. After making a bet with another zoo owner, Mr. Albright, Jameson is under duress to travel to Manchester, England to Belle Vue in a limited amount of time. Along the way, there is a lot of drama, some manufactured, and some not. Maharajah destroys a train carriage and a toll gate, and the group tries to cross a river. So many things go wrong that the group, which also includes a veterinarian and his daughter, begin to suspect that Mr. Albright is sabotaging their efforts, and may be aided by someone in their entourage. Will they be able to make it to Manchester in time for Jameson to win the bet and keep Maharajah? And will Danny's secret identity be revealed?

Good Points
I love books like Dagg's The Year We Were Famous or Blackwood's Around the World in 100 Days that discuss how difficult traveling was before or in the early days of car travel. Taking off across the countryside in the UK in the 1870s sounds appealing to me, as long as there were inns along the way to stop in. Without phones (or lights, or motorcars), adventure seems more harrowing and exciting. Pair that with an elephant companion, and who wouldn't feel compelled to run off and join the circus?

Danny is put into an untenable position when he is kitted out to look like an Indian Prince. He is interviewed by members of the press, but instructed not to speak, so Hetty, the veterinarian's daughter, helps him out. He is also not allowed to speak to her, even though she is a good friend to him, and he feels badly about this. His background of poverty and abuse make him appreciate good meals, warm clothing, and comfortable beds so much, however, that he is not going to jeopardize his position in any way.

The schemes that businessmen went through at this time are also interesting to read about. Truth was not necessarily part of any of it, as we see with another famous shyster of this time period, P.T. Barnum. It was all about the show. Perhaps this is a timely, if alarming, message to read today!

While this is a great addition to the large body of elephant fiction that includes Morpurgo's The Elephant in the Garden, Smith's Elephant Run, Dinerstine's What Elephants Know, High's One Amazing Elephant and Walters' fantastic new Elephant Keeper, this is also a great Victorian orphan adventure in the spirit of Mary Hooper's great novels set in London, Schlitz's A Drowned Maiden's Hair, Avi's City of Orphans and (for a touch of fantasy) Jinks' How to Catch a Bogle series.
Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Story of B
The Story of B combines Daniel Quinn's provocative and visionary...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dark Tales: Beauty and the Beast: A Modern Retelling
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. ...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dark Tales: The Snow Queen: A Graphic Novel
Follow Gerda on an adventure to find her friend Kay,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
DARK TALES: THE CALL OF CTHULHU: A Graphic Novel
In this Dark Tale, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming... ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Graphic Novel
Eliminate the impossible, and whatever remains, however improbable, must be...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Time Jumpers: Escape from Egypt
This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line,...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY
Adrienne Cahill cares about three things: getting into a great...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
9 FROM NINE WORLDS
The Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy may...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
#Murdertrending
@doctorfusionbebop: Some 17 y. o. chick named Dee Guerrera was...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Unstoppable Moses
Moses and his cousin Charlie were best friends, wisecracking pranksters,...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
51HTvQF3B2L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in this thrilling...
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Thief of Happy Endings
Sarah Dessen meets the Wild West in this tale of...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Between Before and After
“The carnage began with the roses. She hacked at their...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
STANDING UP AGAINST HATE is the story of black women...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Chainbreaker (Timekeeper Book 2)
Clock mechanic Danny Hart knows he’s being watched. But by...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old cupid-in-training Kali is in an Olympus-sized mountain of trouble....
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
 
5.0
""These Broken Stars" is an interesting YA sci-fi that follows two young people after a space shuttle crash. Lilac LeRoux..."
This Shattered World (Starbound #2)
 
3.3
""This Shattered World" follows Jubilee (Lee) and Flynn, who live on a planet that has failed terraforming, leaving it with..."
DARK TALES: THE CALL OF CTHULHU: A Graphic Novel
 
4.0
"This vibrant retelling of H.P. Lovecraft’s short story has been artfully adapted into a beautifully illustrated graphic novel that captures..."
Dark Tales: The Hound of the Baskervilles: A Graphic Novel
 
4.0
"The Hound of the Baskervilles is one of Arthur Conan Doyle's finest Sherlock Holmes novels, written years after “The Final..."
NOTES FROM MY CAPTIVITY
 
4.7
"Adrienne Cahill finds herself on an expedition to remote Siberia looking for the fabled Osinov family with her stepfather, Dan,..."
9 FROM NINE WORLDS
 
3.7
"Fans of Riordan will find lots of familiar faces from the Magnus Chase series in this clever collection of short..."
#Murdertrending
 
4.0
"A gory, dark thriller with all the things we loved about Hunger Games plus a delightfully creepy twist of something..."
Unstoppable Moses
 
5.0
"Feedback I am going to admit that I would have never picked up this book if I wasn’t provided a..."
Sanctuary
 
3.0
"X-men Gen X (i.e. the teen version) meets Aliens-lite in this survival-in-space story. Told in first-person past-tense from..."
Thief of Happy Endings
 
4.7
"‘Thief of Happy Endings’ is a young adult contemporary with a huge twist. The story centers around, Cassidy. Cassidy..."
Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1)
 
4.3
"Feedback I thought this was an interesting concept. The clocks themselves really control the time. There are days where..."
Chainbreaker (Timekeeper Book 2)
 
5.0
"Feedback What a change from book one! While I enjoyed Timekeeper, it took me a while to truly engage..."
Confessions of a High School Disaster
 
3.7
"Confessions of a High School Disaster is the first installment of the Chloe Snow series. I read the second installment..."
I Do Not Trust You
 
4.0
"I DO NOT TRUST YOU by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz is a young adult thriller that follows Memphis..."
Light Years
 
3.0
"Sporting a diverse ensemble cast, this book is rife with themes of team-building; and not simply setting aside differences but..."
The Color of Lies
 
3.7
"The Color of Lies relies heavily on its interesting characters, not-so-original plot, and captivating writing to keep its reader--but as..."
The Reader
 
4.0
""The Reader" is an intriguing YA fantasy that follows a girl named Sefia. Her parents hid her in a secret..."
The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel: A Story of Sleepy Hollow
 
4.0
" "The Spellbook of Katrina Van Tassel" is a retelling of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow from the point-of-view of..."
Umbertouched
 
5.0
"UMBERTOUCHED is the end to the Rosemarked Duology and I'm blown away by it. When Zivah and Dineas are..."
Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc
 
5.0
"I really love novels of strong historical women. In this case, this novel is about Joan of Arc. What makes..."