An Elephant In The Garden


"Just put one foot in front of the another"

199 pages


Elizabeth lived in Dresden, Germany. Elizabeth and her family were visiting Aunt Lottie and Uncle Manfred's home. Papi was Elizabeth's dad, Karli was her brother, and Mutti was her mom. Soon Mutti and Papi got into a fight with Uncle Manfred and Aunt Lottie. Before they knew it, Elizabeth, Karli, Mutti, and papa were walking to their old home, and were never welcomed again. One year later, Papi was sent to fight in France wearing a dark grey uniform for Germany. Mutti started to work at a zoo . They knew they needed money. Papi came every month, but he changed; he never laughed nor smiled. He started to visit less and less. He gave very few letters. All of them feared that Papi was dead. As Mutti worked in the zoo, she was proud of adopting a baby elephant named Marlene, but as the war was getting worse and worse, the owner of the zoo said that if Dresden gets bombed then they must shoot all the animals. Mutti convinced her boss to let her keep Marlene. The only way the owner would let Mutti keep Marlene, was if she took her home and back to the zoo every day, which Mutti did. On Elizabeth's birthday, Mutti brought Marlene home for the first time. As the days passed on, Dresden was bombed; Elizabeth's family was safe, because of the elephant. The elephant chased a dog that had been barking at Marlene. Right after that, the bombing started and they were safe. They were once again going on a journey back to the old farm that they were kicked out of. The food was scarce, and Karli had asthma; that wasn't helping anything. They were afraid they would get caught by the red army. Soon Karli couldn't walk anymore. The only thing they could think of was putting Karli on Marlene, but she wasn't trained. They tried it anyway. To their surprise, they found out that Marlene did a fine job at carrying Karli. After a long time, they reached the farm, but the house was abandoned. They looked around and found a person: a person that they all hated. It was a bomber who was shot down. Mutti got a pitch fork ready for action. When the soldier woke up, he saw all three of them looking at him. He was surprised, but Elizabeth convinced Mutti not to kill him. They took him inside and told the soldier to set in a chair. Mutti was strict and told them not to talk to him, but Elizabeth and Karli were too curious. Then one day, Karli was going to an island surrounded by frozen water; he wanted to visit the treehouse Papi made in the past. Then, the ice broke and Karli fell in. Luckily, the soldier named Peter saved his life. When they were back, a few soldiers knocked on the door. Mutti opened the door and the soldier said that he was looking for a soldier who parachuted from a plane that was going to bomb Dresden. Peter was wearing Uncle Manfred's clothes. Mutti told the soldier that Peter was her son and that he had asthma. If it wasn't the elephant with it's interesting story, the soldier would never have bought the story Mutti told him. Once again, they were on the road with Marlene and Peter going to the Allied camps. Will they get caught? Will Marlene stay with their family? Will Marlene attract attention to her family? Will Papi ever come home? Will Peter die? Find out in this wonderful book based on a true story.
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The theme of this book is to keep moving forward, and that family always sticks together. This can apply to my life, because my parents say that I shouldn't look back on past experiences. "Family always sticks together" can relate to my life, because, in it's own way, that has helped my family a lot. When family sticks together, they bring hope, love, excitement, and support. I have had my share of difficulties, and throughout it all, my family has been right by my side. Since my family has helped me through tough situations in the past, I have built up the strength to keep moving forward knowing that they will always be there for me.