The White Elephant
By Sid Fleischman
Published by GreenWillow Books
Copyright © 2006
Run-Run is a mahout, an elephant trainer, who lives in Siam (Thailand). He works a grand old elephant that he loves named Walking Mountain. One day he and his elephant make the prince very mad. Instead of being beaten or killed the prince decides to punish him with a gift. The Prince gives Run-Run a young white elephant. How could this be punishment? Run-Run soon realizes just how much of a curse a white elephant can be. Try as he may though, he just can’t seem to rid himself of this burden. Very soon though Run-Run will be glad he didn’t.
Fleischman has woven an enjoyable, and at times moving, tale of a boy and his elephants. He takes us half way around the world and introduces us to a rich culture much different from our own using simple yet descriptive language. Additionally, the occasional grayscale drawings add a little dimension and boundaries to the story.
I personally enjoyed this story very much. The only complaint I have is that the ending is too abrupt and doesn’t give enough closure. Most good books don’t however, mainly because you never want a good book to end.