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

Kai's summer changes when she gets a summer internship at...
 
0.0
 
4.3 (1)
Zoe is just your average teenage girl expecting another average,...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Frango & Chicken
Some things seem impossible, but with the right attitude and...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ruby Lane
Ruby is overexcited again, and her brain is spinning creative...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Girl Gone Ghost
A gripping psychological thriller. Inspired by a...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Resist: 35 Profiles of Ordinary People Who Rose Up Against Tyranny and Injustice
A perfect tool for young readers as they grow into...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
From the critically acclaimed author of Waiting for Normal and...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Side by Side A Novel of Bonnie and Clyde
Texas: 1931. It’s the height of the Great Depression, and...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Voyage of the Dogs
SOS. Ship damaged. Human crew missing. We are...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Flying in a Cage
A song tugs inside me, like a string pulling...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Shorty & Clem Blast Off!
The energetic and zany duo Shorty and Clem are back,...
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Bear's Spooky Book of Hidden Things: Halloween Seek-and-Find
If you want to keep kids happily busy for hours...
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Strange New World
Dahlia 16's life is a lie. The city of...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Like Never And Always
Liv Burnham thinks nobody knows Morgan Frost like she...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Outcasts- The Blood Dagger: Volume 1
Mystical relics. Powerful vampires. Strange allies. It's hell being...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Ascent (A Peak Marcello Adventure #3)
After conquering the mountains in Afghanistan, Peak Marcello goes...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Restart
 
4.0
"Middle grade mystery with an amnesic twist—a friendship-centric tale of lost-and-found. Readers are introduced to a cruel boy..."
Hollywood Hustle (Son of the Mob #2)
 
3.3
" Hollywood Hustle is a huge DISAPPOINTMENT. DON'T READ THIS BOOK. IT'S SUCH A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT. DON'T EVEN BOTHER READING..."
Pop
 
4.0
"Marcus Jordon just moved from Kansas to upstate New York--Kennesaw, NY to be exact. A JV football star at..."
Jake, Reinvented
 
3.0
"Reader reviewed by melissa this book truly embodies a remake. it tells the story of the great gatsby in a..."
Hollywood Hustle (Son of the Mob #2)
 
4.0
"Reader reviewed by kathy Although i didn't get the chance to read the first book i still thought that this..."
 
3.0
"Reader reviewed by Julie This book was a very fun read. it was funny and different. It was really realistic..."
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by Kyra Wallace Wallace is the star of his school. After scoring the winning touchdown in the championship,..."
 
3.0
"Reader reviewed by PJR "no More Dead Dogs" is a light-hearted book about a middle school student who breaks tradition..."
Hollywood Hustle (Son of the Mob #2)
 
4.0
"Reader reviewed by undercover reader Vince Luca is finally going to practically be in heaven or so he thinks. Getting..."
Hollywood Hustle (Son of the Mob #2)
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by Noah Potash Vince is a film student in California, has a beautiful..."
Hollywood Hustle (Son of the Mob #2)
 
4.0
"Reader reviewed by Jenna A good follow-up to the first Son of the Mob book. Vince is off at college..."
Hollywood Hustle (Son of the Mob #2)
 
4.0
"Reader reviewed by abscae I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in this book. After the first one,..."
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by Jakle The Life thats what they call it when youre a mobster. But even for..."
Hollywood Hustle (Son of the Mob #2)
 
4.0
"Reader reviewed by linda At first Vince goes off to college happy to get away from his father's mob. His..."
 
4.0
"Reader reviewed by timikay son of the mob, a boy who is givine everything, a prince, someone who got what..."
Jake, Reinvented
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by Reading Teacher I teach The Great Gatsby to college students taking an introduction to literature course and..."
Jake, Reinvented
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by AThomson Jake, Reinvented has the potential to be a great bridge to The Great Gatsby. Like all..."
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by linda This was a hilarious book with an original and pretty great plot. Vince is trying to..."
 
4.0
"Reader reviewed by Keshia In Gordon Korman's "Son of the Mob" 17 year old Vince Luca has to deal with..."
 
5.0
"Reader reviewed by two sided freek Despite this book's narration, which is from a boy, which in alot of cases..."