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Small as an Elephant

Small as an Elephant


Small as an Elephant

ratings:
4/5 (13 ratings)
Length:
5 hours
Released:
Mar 8, 2011
ISBN:
9781455803392
Format:
Audiobook

Description

When eleven-year-old Jack Martel crawls out of his pup tent on the first morning of his camping trip with his mom in Acadia National Park, he notices right away that something isn't right. Where is his mom's tent, and their rental car? And where is his mom? Any other kid might panic, might even go to the police. But Jack isn't like other kids. And his mom isn't like other moms.

Jack knows that it's up to him to find his mom before someone figures out what's happened and separates them forever. But finding his mom in the state of Maine isn't the same as finding her in their neighborhood back in Boston. With nothing but a small plastic elephant to keep him company, Jack begins his search, starting with all the places they'd planned to visit together. But as the search drags on, a dark thought plagues him: once he finds his mom, will he ever be able to forgive her?

Released:
Mar 8, 2011
ISBN:
9781455803392
Format:
Audiobook


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Reviews

What people think about Small as an Elephant

4.0
13 ratings / 17 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    A beautifully written, moving, spirited story.
  • (5/5)
    This spare, well-written story of abandonment will hook the reader on the first page and never let go. Jack is an 11-year old boy who lives outside of Boston with his mom. The story begins as Jack wakes up after a night of camping in Acadia National Park. Jack is dismayed to discover that his mother, her tent and the car are all gone. As Jack begins searching for her, the author slowly reveals that Jack's mother suffers from mental illness, and that she has abandoned Jack in the past. Jack knows that if he enlists the help of adults, he may be taken from his mom, so his goal is to find her or make his way home alone. Despite his efforts, Jack comes across some interesting characters, some helpful, some not, as he makes his journey. You will love Jack's resourcefulness as he figures out how to eat, sleep and travel without being discovered by social services. Jack has always loved elephants, and the recurring theme about the gentle giants is sweet and interesting. Recommendations for readers who fall in love with this suspenseful, yet touching story would be The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, and From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwieler by E.L. Konigsburg.
  • (3/5)
    Jack wakes up on the first morning of their camping trip and finds that he's alone. Sure, there are other families on other campsites--but his mom is gone. And the car is gone. And her tent, and all their stuff. He tries to find a way to explain things (maybe she moved to a new site! Maybe she went for coffee!), but as time drags on, he knows that she's abandoned him. Maybe Jack can find his way back to Boston, or at least take himself on the one adventure he was hoping to have in Maine. He just hadn't planned on doing it alone.

    I'm conflicted on this one. Solid storytelling, engrossing, a young boy you really do root for as he comes to understand that his mother is mentally ill and has been for a long time, and that this is NOT okay. He's resourceful, though there are a couple of particularly deus-ex-machina-y characters who help him out from time to time. I honestly don't know if I see this having much teen appeal; it's mostly a quiet character story with a bit of plot, not any sort of action-adventure-ness. It's almost an updated Homecoming without the siblings. I wanted more from this--more exploration of the mother's issues, more drama in Jack's journey, more of what happens after? I recognize that most of these things are sort of "Mike Mulligan's bathroom"--it's not a part of the story, so it doesn't matter. Still, they're things that I'd have liked to have seen.
  • (4/5)
    Jack left by his mother at a camp site in Maine seaches for her while encountering various characters on his quest to see the only elepant in Maine.
  • (4/5)
    This is a little better than three stars, but certainly not four.Jack, an 11 year old boy, finds himself unexpectedly alone while on a vacation to Maine, and then has to figure out what he is going to do to reunite himself with his mother.One of my favorite things about this book was mentioned in the author's note - she went to Maine and visited all the places the character would have gone, and I felt like this really came through in the book. The geography of the story was completely real and believable. I liked the story overall, I liked the characters and found them sympathetic. I'm not quite sure why this didn't rise (much) above three stars for me ... in some ways I was expecting more information on certain plot points that eventually went ... nowhere in particular. In terms of plot momentum, I felt like nothing changed organically. If Jack changed his plans, or changed his mind about something, it was usually at random and not convincingly as a reaction to an actual impetus.I have to add that I was predisposed to like this book because not only do I like elephants, I have a special obsession with tiny elephants. Pretty much the best thing that could happen in life, ever, would be if we could genetically engineer elephants to make them the size of cats. This all stems from one of E. Nesbit's dragon stories, where it is casually mentioned that elephants are small like house pets and guinea pigs are large like, well, like elephants. Aside from the general excellence of the concept of small elephants, what especially intrigued me was how this worked as a brief, almost throwaway concept that establishes the story in a similar, but slightly different, world than ours. There's also a small mammoth in the L'Engle book about the flood, which is nice and all, but this is one of my weird things that is very specific about elephants; a mammoth is not the same.Grade: B-Recommended: To people who like YA and elephants (I was a little worried it was going to get tiresome, but it turned out to be a cute theme).
  • (5/5)
    Another amazing middle reader novel that deserves tons of praise. Jack's journey is filled with heartbreak, but the people he meets along the way give him so very much. Jennifer Richard Jacobson's use of actual places in Maine let me do my own "illustrated" tour of Jack's journey on the Internet. Hats off to Left Bank Books in Searsport, ME for becoming the scene of one of Jack's important encounters. What a beautifully written book!
  • (3/5)
    Compelling and finely detailed but exhausting. The elephant obsession generally works, but feels a little random at times. Jack's shifting morality, as well as his attempts to rationalize both his own and his mother's behaviors feel desperate and true. I like the idea of an essentially suburban survival story, though his facility with locating hiding places is alarming.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed the story, but I'm not convinced that students would like it. Jack wakes up on his first day of a three day camping trip with his mother, and he is alone; she has taken the car, her own tent, the food, everything and left him. The remainder of the book is him deciding what to do, revealing bits of flashbacks to her other "spinning" times, looking for her, and finally ending up with someone who will keep him safe. It's eloquently written, but I don't think kids would find it interesting. It's also sad, since his mom's mental illness is what makes her leave him in the first place. I would not recommend this to most students.
  • (4/5)
    Eleven year old Jack has been left alone at a campsite in Maine by his mother. Determined to find her, and keep DSS at bay, he sets off on a journey. Along the way he discovers things that he had forgotten, an inner strength that he didn't know he had, and an ever widening group of people that unbeknownst to him want him to come home safely. It is so hard to find books that will interest boys of this age that don't have monsters, aliens, etc. I truly hope that Small as an Elephant finds them. This book is a gem.
  • (3/5)
    Jack's mother is mentally ill. She gets into spells of "spinning" where she doesn't pay any attention to anything or anybody else, including her son. So when the two of them go on a camping trip and Jack wakes up in the morning to find his mother, her pup-tent, and the car all gone, he doesn't panic right away. But he also doesn't go to the rangers, because he knows if the authorities find out his mother left her 11 year old son alone in a state park in Maine, DSS would take him away from her. So he sets out to search for her.This is the maguffin to set this book in motion. About 80 or 90% of the book is simply Jack's struggle to survive alone, without food, money, or shelter. At the end, it does wrap things up very nicely. But I would have liked a little more back story, a little more detailed ending, and a shorter stretch of day to day survival.
  • (4/5)
    The rural NV library from which I read this had it shelved as adult. Given that expectation, and given the subtle cover art, I was able to appreciate this a lot more than if I had breezed through it as 'just another issues book for kids.' There's a lot here - exciting 'fugitive' adventure, the obvious theme of 'what do elephants mean to Jack?,' the discussion a classroom could have about whether a mom who abandons her kid is still worth his love, and whether Jack should have called Grandma or contacted the police right away... and there's more quiet & beautiful things in here that make it worth the time for an adult to savor, perhaps even reread.
  • (4/5)
    My thirteen year old son was drawn to this story. After he was done reading it, I picked it up. When he saw me reading it he told me he would chat about it with me when I Finished reading it. At first I found the story to be unbelievable because I could not imagine a mother being so mentally ill that she would leave her son all alone in a campground while they were on vacation. As the story continued I found myself rooting for Jack to make it back home. The author made the story very true-to-life. I enjoyed the comparison of boy and elephant. I will seek out this author again in the future.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed this one. It was at times exciting, heartbreaking, and sweet. I very much cared what happened to Jack, I was disgusted with, yet sympathetic to his mentally-ill mother, and I loved getting a mini-tour of Maine. It was interesting to see the different characters who tried to help him. The only thing that I felt didn't come through enough was what and who exactly was Big Jack? I wish we could have delved a little deeper into who he was and why he was so concerned. I'm glad I read this sad but uplifting little book.
  • (3/5)
    Jack wakes up a a campground in Acadia National Park to find that his mother has abandoned him, taking everything but the tent and sleeping bag he was using. He has no money, no food and no idea where she is. But she has done this before, and has always come back. Determined to avoid being caught and sent to foster care, he sets out to find her on his own.
  • (3/5)
    Narrated by William Dufris. During a Labor Day weekend camping trip, Jack wakes up to find his mother has left camp and taken the car. Jack isn’t too worried; she’ll probably be back soon. But as the morning stretches into evening, and then into days, Jack knows he must hit the road and do what he can to keep his mentally ill mother from going to jail and he into foster care. Dufris captures Jack’s roller coaster of emotions during his journey and predicament. He voices the solid convictions of a child’s perspective and conveys Jack’s love and acceptance of his mother despite the quirks of her mental illness.
  • (4/5)
    "Small as an Elephant" was like nothing I had ever read before. It was a different but exciting, sad but very interesting. Jack is going on a summer camping trip to Maine with his mom. When he wakes up in the morning at the campsite, his mom is gone. Nothing left behind, not a trace of her ever being there. Just him, his phone, backpack, sleeping bag, and tent. Jack knows she has gone off like this before, and decides to lie low for now; but soon he finds himself on the run, with the WHOLE ENTIRE STATE OF MAINE LOOKING FOR HIM. His mom never came back and now he is on his own and running out of options. Will he be able to survive by himself? Will he ever see his mom again? And how can he know who to trust with everyone out looking for him; just wanting to be the one to turn him in? Jennifer Richard Jacobson takes you on a nail-biting adventure with Jack and his passionate love and connection with elephants.
  • (4/5)
    If for no other reason, you must read Small as an Elephant because every chapter starts off with a fact or myth about elephants. That’s reason enough. But there is another reason: ten-year-old Jack Martel has an elephant sized adventure. Jack and his mother are taking a three day camping vacation in Maine right before school starts in the fall. However, when Jack wakes up after the first night, his mother is nowhere to be found. Her tent is gone. Her car is gone. She is gone. No notes, messages or no nothing.At first Jack thinks she went to get food or to find the ocean. But, inside he knows better, because she has run off before. When she doesn’t return after the first day, Jack gets nervous. He’s afraid to tell anyone because he doesn’t want the Department of Social Services to come and take him away from his mother. The first day isn’t too bad. He befriends another ten year old, Aiden, and Jack joins Aiden’s family on a day trip. He lies and says his mother isn’t feeling well. But, when Aiden’s mother says she’ll stop by and bring some soup, Jack knows it’s time to pack up and leave. He begins searching for his mother, then decides to head home to Boston and finally decides on the way to visit Lydia, the only elephant in Maine.Jack has adventure after adventure, meeting people but not knowing who to trust. To find out where Jack ends up, you need to read Small as an Elephant. The author, Jennifer Richard Jacobson knows how to write an adventure story.