Noa and the Little Elephant

Noa and the Little Elephant
Michael Foreman
Harper Collins Children’s Books

Michael Foreman takes up the cause of wildlife protection in this lovely little book published in association with TUSK a charity that helps protect African wildlife, in support of which Ugandan ranger and wildlife authority, Julius Obwona, has written a forward.

Young Noa’s favourite animals are the elephants he watches every day after school as he returns home in the little boat built for him by his father. One day though, they aren’t in their favourite wallowing place in the river so a concerned Noa decides to follow their tracks into the jungle.

When he emerges on the far side he sees what he first thinks is a new game the little elephant is playing with his mother. On closer inspection though – horror of horrors – this is no game. The mother elephant is lying dead and her tusks have been removed.

After a while the baby elephant overcomes his fear and allows Noa to approach and comfort the creature. The boy makes a decision: he resolves to take the little tusker home and care for him in his village.

Back at home, his father tells Noa about the cruel poachers that shoot elephants for their valuable tusks and how the villages have grouped together to try and prevent such cruelty. Noa’s sister, Eva names the elephant Tembo and it’s not long before he’s part and parcel of village life. 

One night at the start of the rainy season a terrific storm arrives causing the river to overflow its banks so Noa rushes down to the water to secure his boat and in so doing is caught in the wild roaring current and is swept away. 

Fortunately however ‘something solid ‘is in the water that enables him to haul himself to safety.

Thereafter a beautiful rainbow appears over the village and a thankful Noa resolves that when he’s older, he’ll join his fellow villagers in protecting the elephants: “We are all one family living under the same sky and sharing the same world” he tells Tembo.

Superbly illustrated, and simply and movingly told, this tale of love and survival is most definitely a book for young animal lovers be they solo readers or listeners.

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