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 Little Girl Who Wanted to be Big
The internet’s “World’s Best Father," award-winning photographer Dave Engledow, follows...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Diamond and the Boy
Told in a unique dual-narrative format, The Diamond and the...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Little Penguin Stays Awake
A charming companion to Little Penguin Gets the Hiccups and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Merry Christmas, Little One
Christmas comes but once a year - Time...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hi-Five Animals
What's the best way to say hello to anyone you...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Three Little Superpigs
After defeating the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Little Superpigs...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Twice Dead
Naya, the daughter of a sea merchant captain, nervously undertakes...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
I, Sofia-Elisabete, Love Child of Colonel Fitzwilliam: A Perfect World in the Moon
In 1815, a 5-year-old girl searches for Utopia in a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Way I Used to Be
The main character Eden is raped by her brother's best...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Agony House
Denise Farber has just moved back to New Orleans with...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
PortalsByAnnChristy.jpg
The world sees the portals as an invasion. For Lysa,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
ONE RULE. DON'T FALL FOR THE BAD BOY. Sixteen-year-old Jasmine...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Island of Monsters (Spirit Hunters #2)
The perfect spooky read for Halloween, this pulse-pounding adventure will...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Four Three Two One
Golden “Go” Jennings wasn’t supposed to be on Bus 21...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The Lines We Cross
Michael likes to hang out with his friends and play...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Max Tilt: 80 Days or Die
When thirteen-year-old Max Tilt stumbled across his great-great-great-grandfather Jules Verne’s...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

The Little Girl Who Wanted to be Big
 
5.0
"Dave Engledow does it again with THE LITTLE GIRL WHO WANTED TO BE BIG. All the little girl wants to..."
Little Penguin Stays Awake
 
5.0
"All Little Penguin wants to do his fly like all of the other birds. His only hope is wishing on..."
Merry Christmas, Little One
 
5.0
"MERRY CHRISTMAS, LITTLE ONE is a fun, interactive story about Christmas time and snowmen. "Christmas comes but once a year..."
Hi-Five Animals
 
5.0
"HI-FIVE ANIMALS is exactly as it sounds. You Hi-Five all of the animals! The illustrations are adorable with close up..."
The Three Little Superpigs
 
4.0
"What happens after the Three Little Pigs put the Wolf in jail? Well, he plots his revenge of course! THE..."
The Island of Monsters (Spirit Hunters #2)
 
5.0
"Harper moved to Washington, D.C. with her family and found out about her paranormal abilities in Spirit Hunters. She has..."
Missing Pieces (Hello Neighbor #1)
 
4.0
"Nicky's family moves around a lot, and he gets tired of having to adjust to new towns, new schools, and..."
The Collectors
 
4.0
"Giovanni lives in New York City with his mother, who is an opera singer. His father was a set designer,..."
Max Tilt: 80 Days or Die
 
4.0
"After finding an enormous treasure with his cousin Alex, Max's family has built a big new house and is enjoying..."
Sea Prayer
 
5.0
"This fictional picture book, inspired by the tragic death of three-year-old Alan Kurdi's tragic death on a Turkish beach, follows..."
My Father's Words
 
4.0
"When Fiona and Finn's father, a psychologist, is killed in a car accident, the children and their mother (who is..."
The Steeplechase Secret (Free Rein)
 
4.0
"Zoe and her family have moved to Bright Field Stables from California. Her mother is from the small island in..."
Fuzzy Freaks Out (Class Pets #3)
 
4.0
"Fuzzy and the other pets in Miss Wills' class 5-B are getting ready for Halloween. Fuzzy in particular is trying..."
Grow Up, David
 
4.0
"GROW UP, DAVID is all about having a sibling. David's brother is the typical older brother who doesn't want David..."
Everlasting Nora
 
5.0
"Nora and her mother have been living in her father's family mausoleum after they lost their home, and her father,..."
Hurricane Katrina Rescue (Ranger in Time #8)
 
4.0
"Ranger, a failed rescue dog (squirrels are so distracting!), has a first aid kit that sends him through time to..."
Out of Left Field
 
5.0
"Ten-year-old Katy is a fantastic pitcher, so great that a local Little League coach encourages her to sign up for..."
Otherwise Known as Possum
 
4.0
"LizBetty Porter doesn't want to be called by her name-- she wants to be called Possum, which is what her..."
Air Raid Search and Rescue (Soldier Dogs #1)
 
4.5
" Marcus and his family have moved to the United Kingdom for his father's job, and are unfortunately..."
Otherwood
 
5.0
"Stuey, his mother, and his grandfather live in a large, old house that has been in the family for generations..."