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Elephants Walk Together Review by Ta’Neisha Kemp

Cheryl Lawton Malone
Albert Whitman & Company
Phone: 800-255-7675, (847) 232-2800
250 South Northwest Highway, Suite 320
Park Ridge, Illinois 60068

My children were moved by the heartfelt story, Elephants Walk Together, written by Cheryl Lawton Malone and published by Albert Whitman & Company.  This book tells the account of the lifetime friendship of two wild elephants, Precious and Baba.

This tale begins in the wild where Precious and Baba are young, full of energy, foraging, and frolicking. Over time the babies grow, are captured by hunters, and taken to the circus. Their training initially seems cute and fun, but the reader is reminded that painful mistakes can be made.  The tactics used by the trainers are created to make the animal uncomfortable and force them into submission and during their time entertaining all they have is the comfort of one another.  Eventually the pair areseparated, and they spend many years apart without that familiar bond.  The two finally reconnect in a sanctuary where they immediately recognize each other and are truly happy.

Upon receipt, I looked at the cover of this book and thought it was going to be the usual child friendly story about two elephants that were best friends.  I immediately assumed, like most animal books this was going to be another cute tale for our preschoolers.  However, this small children's book completely exceeded my expectations and made me ponder my own participation in viewing portions of the animal entertainment industry over the years.  Elephants Walk Together is appropriate for preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary children.  This would also be beneficial to help families further clarify why they do not attend the circus.  This conversation and book could easily be paired with a visit to a local animal sanctuary.  In my town we have a small, family owned and operated sanctuary that only takes rescues from the animal entertainment industry.  It is only open a few times a year where the public is given an opportunity to tour the facility and learn each animal's story.

Cheryl Lawton Malone did a fabulous job of explaining the characteristics of the elephant along with the harmful effects of poor care while working with animals.  Her author's note in the back also gave detailed information on an elephant's ability to remember a friend or family member.  She also touched on the treatment of animals in this industry and ways that we can make a difference.  Not only did Precious and Baba's friendship stand out, but their long-term health, constant transition, and final sanctuary location all played a major part in this thirty-one-pagebook.

Elephants Walk Together is a great addition to our homeschool library and everyone in our household, Kevin and I included, were truly moved by the story.  This book is published by Albert Whitman & Company and currently available at various retailers and online.

-Product review by Ta'Neisha Kemp, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2018