The White Elephant

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9780061131363: The White Elephant

How can a beautiful white elephant be a terrible curse?

Run-Run, a young elephant trainer, discovers the answer when he incurs the fury of the prince. The boy's punishment? The gift of an elephant, white as a cloud. From that moment forward, the curse reveals itself. According to tradition, so rare an elephant cannot be allowed to work for its keep. It is poor Run-Run who must feed the beast the hundreds of pounds of food it eats each day, and scrub it clean, and brush its pom-pom of a tail, and wash behind its ears, and, above all, keep it from doing any work.

Oh, if only Run-Run could make the magnificent white elephant disappear! Clever as a magician, he does—but the curse has tricks of its own for Run-Run.

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About the Author:

As an award-winning young novelist, Sid Fleischman stated publicly that the only way he would write nonfiction was with a gun to his head. It turned out to be a squirt gun, for The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West is the third extraordinary true tale that has escaped his pen. It follows close behind the best-selling Escape! The Story of The Great Houdini and his autobiography, The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life.

Fleischman's books have been made into films, performed as plays, and translated into nineteen languages. The author was awarded the Newbery Medal for The Whipping Boy. His most recent novel is The Entertainer and the Dybbuk. Sid Fleischman lives in Santa Monica, California.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 3-5–Fleischman skillfully drops readers into the life of Run-Run, an orphan in old Siam who struggles to make a living as a mahout (elephant trainer) with Walking Mountain, his beloved old elephant. A cruel prince, accidentally sprayed with water by the animal, complicates Run-Run's already difficult life by giving him a gift that is really a curse–a white elephant. Somehow, Run-Run must take excellent care of Sahib, who is forbidden to work because he is sacred: Wash the hair at his ears! Brush it! Use no harsh words. Do not scold him. Treat him like an honored guest! the Prince's servant orders the elephant boy. If you value your own skin, you will be a servant to Prince Noi's gift.... Sahib surprises the boy, however, with his intelligence and bravery, and, in the end, enables Run-Run to seek out a more hopeful future. This young-reader-friendly book features ample margins and generous line spacing, short chapters, and full-page black-and-white illustrations that give visual information. Fleischman successfully immerses readers in this ancient culture, creating clever and believable plot twists that bring the story to a satisfying but open-ended conclusion. Strong writing, interesting dialogue, and clear plot development add up to another fine Fleischman novel.–Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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