Gr 5-9-The poignant recollections of 82-year-old Lizzie capture the imaginations of her listeners, a nurse and her young son, who sit in rapt attention by her nursing-home bedside. Lizzie's engaging story is seamlessly laced with historical facts about the February 1945 bombing of Dresden, zoo directives to euthanize the animals during bombings, and the desperate plight of defeated Germans caught between advancing Russian and Allied forces. Lizzie's family included her exuberant younger brother; her compassionate mother, a zookeeper for elephants; and her absentee father, who was conscripted into the German army. When the Allied forces began the infamous firebombing of Dresden, the family and her mother's beloved elephant, Marlene, fled. Joining a wave of fellow refugees, they survived, thanks to chance encounters with a downed Allied navigator whom they secretly "adopted" as a family member, and with a countess who provided a safe house for anyone in need. After the war Lizzie's parents and Lizzie and her beloved navigator were reunited. Twenty years later, Lizzie "found" Marlene performing in a traveling French circus. The elephant had not forgotten her wartime companion. This well-paced, heartwarming narrative by a master storyteller will appeal to readers on several levels-as a tale of adventure and suspense, as a commentary on human trauma and animal welfare during war, as a perspective on the hardships facing the German people in the final months of World War II, and as a tribute to the rich memories and experiences of an older generation.-Gerry Larson, Durham School of the Arts, NC (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Frail and in a nursing home, Lizzie recalls when she was 15 and her family, including an elephant named Marlene, escaped the devastating 1945 bombing of Dresden (Germany). Readers are spellbound as Lizzie shares her riveting recollections of the sounds, smells, and feelings of war with her nurse and her nurse's son. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Alternating narratives tell the story of a family's remarkable survival of the Allied bombing of Dresden in 1945. Lizzie's mother works at the Dresden Zoo, which plans to destroy its largest animals lest they escape during a bombing. Mutti rescues Marlene, an orphan elephant she raised from infancy. Marlene takes to her new family, particularly to Lizzie's little brother, Karli, and when the bombers arrive, Marlene accompanies them on their trek across Germany, away from the invading Russians and toward the advancing American army. Along the way, they meet a wounded Canadian soldier, who himself becomes an integral part of this makeshift family. Morpurgo frames the story with a contemporary perspective. Lizzie, now an elderly woman in a nursing home, tells her tale to the young son of a nurse who reminds her of her own young brother. The occasional interruptions to the story build suspense and add a layer of resonance to Morpurgo's poignant and thoughtful exploration of the terrible impact of war on both sides of the fighting.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist