It was hot in Leo’s backyard, even in the shade by the guinea pig cage. Alan Nesbit Kirk wrinkled his pink nose. ‘Were there screams and clashing swords?’
‘No,’ said Leo. ‘Not in maths class.’
‘Not even any fire-breathing dragons?’
Leo sighed. He didn’t want to think about school on a Sunday afternoon.
Alan Nesbit Kirk gave the whisker twitch that meant, ‘Nothing interesting ever happens to you.’
It’s a tough old world when even your guinea pig thinks you’re boring. But that’s Leo’s lot. He doesn’t really fit in at school. He’s not that interested in football, loves reading and can speak animal. Speak animal? Yes, animal. He knows what animals are saying and can respond. Not exactly the sort of skill that’s going to win points in the playground. But suddenly, classmate-who-hardly-speaks-to-anyone Mozz sends a skateboard riding robot gorilla to invite him over to her house. Suddenly life is about to get much more interesting. Not safe, not dull and boring, quite scary really, but interesting. She needs his help to help rescue some elephants from the threat of a tsunami.
Jackie French takes animal rescue to a completely new place, with superfast jet travel, animal-talking and an apparently robotic gorilla. ‘Elephant Rescue’ is a wild romp across the world, with little time for any anxieties of a reluctant hero. Because although Leo gets involved in this adventure, and although he acknowledges it had to be done, he’s far from convinced he really wanted to be there. There are themes of conservation, and doing the right thing even if you’re not feeling all that brave. There is comedy in every character, from Leo’s food obsessed mother, to Mozz’s brilliant and eccentric inventor grandmother. An absolute hoot! Recommended for confident independent readers, or perfect as a read-to.
Elephant Alert, Jackie French Scholastic Press 2012 ISBN: 9781741698480
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author