What the Elephant Heard
Charlotte Guillain and Sam Usher
Charlotte Guillain tells this rhyming non-fiction story from the viewpoint of a young elephant that lives on the African savannah with her herd.
We learn of the wisdom and knowledge of the narrator’s grandmother always able to find water just like the grandmothers before her. Those that could tell of roaring lions, zebra herds and the activities of humans with their smoke belching machines,
their aeroplanes and their cars bringing tourists.
Worse than all those though, are the sounds of buzzing, whining tree destroying monsters that carried the felled trees off to people in towns,
and then that tragic shot from a poacher’s gun which killed the young elephant’s own father.
Now, as Sam Usher’s watercolour illustration shows, with the land dusty and parched, the herd awaits the welcome sounds of thunder and rain. With Grandma as leader, they lumber across the denuded savannah in the hope that once more, their leader wiii be successful in locating a waterhole …
After the elephant has finished speaking, come three prose spreads, the first giving basic information about elephants, their features and habits, the second discusses the work of elephant rescue teams and wildlife rangers and the third presents worrying facts about the declining numbers of elephants and some ways in which humans can help support these amazing creatures.
Equally lyrical in their own way as Charlotte’s words, are Sam Usher’s scenes of both the beauty and the harshness of the elephants’ environment over time and place. Altogether a heartfelt and timely presentation of pachyderm plight and majesty.