Elvis and the World As It Stands

Elvis and the World As It Stands
Age Range
Release Date
August 24, 2021
Buy This Book
A poignant middle-grade story about loss and finding family from the point of view of a newly adopted kitten

"An absolute delight, from beginning to end." —Anne Ursu, author of National Book Award nominee The Real Boy

"Elvis's journey is sweet and funny and profound." —Eliot Schrefer, National Book Award finalist

Most shelter animals dream of going home with a forever family. But for Elvis, being chosen by Mrs. Pemberton is a nightmare. He’s been separated from his sister, Etta, and is determined to get back to the shelter to find her. In spite of himself, Elvis becomes curious about ten-year-old Georgina Pemberton, who builds LEGO skyscrapers in her bedroom while navigating her parents’ separation. The longer he’s in his new home, the more he starts recognizing new feelings: admiration for Georgina’s creations, affection for the other pets, and even empathy for the Pembertons—despite their inability to listen.

As Georgina sets out to build her most important skyscrapers yet—the Twin Towers—Elvis realizes that maybe both humans and animals can take a page from Georgina’s Big Book of American Architecture and “build a world of their own choosing,” even if the choices aren’t what they’d initially expected.

Editor review

1 review
Pets and Shared Custody
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Elvis is a kitten who has ended up in a shelter with his sister, Etta. He is glad to be going to a forever home, but devastated that he and Etta are separated. He ends up in a home in San Franciso with Georgina, a girl whose parents are divorced and who also has Mo, a guinea pig, Laverne, a fish, and Clementine, an older cat who isn't very glad to see him. Georgina is sad about her parents being apart, and is very interested in architecture. She (and sometimes the animals) works on Lego models of famous buildings, and is very interested in the Twin Towers. She wants to visit New York City with both of her parents, but her mother in particular is less than thrilled. She splits time between her parents' apartments, but is not allowed to have pets at her father's.
Good Points
It is always good to see children with particular interests, and Georgina's love of building with Legos is one that many children share. She doesn't use kits for her buildings, but has an architecture book she uses to guide her. She is a little on the shy side, but takes a lot of comfort in the animals. Her parents, and their somewhat complicate shared parenting schedule, and good to see portrayed. This is a good way to introduce the topic of 9/11 to young readers. Mueller's occasional illustrations are completely charming and add a lot to the book. Reader who love Florence's Jasmine Toguchi books or Miles' Puppy Place series will enjoy this one a lot.

Keep in mind that this is told from the animals' points of view, and at first I thought that the animals were talking to humans and the humans could understand them. This is not the case.

This is a charming book for elementary students who are interested in animals but also might want some insight into how to deal with a divorce situation. The parents are referred to as Mommy and Daddy, which makes this seem young for middle school. The depiction of shared custody is realistic and positive, and will be great for readers of Sharp's Just Pretend, Rhuday-Perkovich and Vernick's Two Naomis, Murphy's Sweet Pea, and Klas' Second Dad Summer.
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