Book Review: The Elephants’ Child, by M L Eaton

There are books which are children’s books, but which adults enjoy too. And there are some which, after reading, you feel like it’s a book that is meant for adults, but children would love it too. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett is one such. And this book, The Elephants’ Child by M L Eaton, is one that perhaps might be a bit of both categories.

As children, we are accustomed to staying at one place, especially when we have friends or familiar faces. And moving to a different county is not easy. The main character in this story is such a child, six year old Melanie. She has to move to India, and when she does, she finds it difficult to settle. Her mother has her own problems, both healthwise and also to see Melanie happy. Lakshmi, the ayah, first befriends Melanie, and then she finds another friend. The little girl, who has been told tales of elephants, finds a friend in a baby elephant at the Hanging Gardens. And when Melanie’s worries turn into nightmares, her ayah tells her stories of the Elephant god. Can all be well?

While I wouldn’t say ML Eaton’s language is amazing, I would say it is charming, for it’s that charm that I feel keeps me engaged and turning the pages to read a story that’s simple, without a lot of drama but with a touch of life. I like the character of Melanie, and how the author has developed that. A six year old girl would be bubbly, excited, yet also well mannered, as Melanie’s upbringing would add to her character. And Eaton does show that. As a child who loves stories and also animals, she reminded me of a bit of me. I liked how the other characters too feel distinct and have a good character sketch. Especially the ayah, and Nelly the elephant. India, and life, through the eyes of a six year old… I think that’s why I love this story a lot.

The story does make me contemplate, and make me wonder if it could have had this much beauty if it were longer. Maybe. Maybe not. But this book, a gift, does become a favorite.


A score of 9 out of 10
A score of 9 out of 10
Book Details
Title: The Elephants’ Child
Author(s): M L Eaton Genre: Fiction
ISBN/ASIN: B00KXHP9JW Publisher: Touchworks

I own a copy of the book. No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.


(© 31st January 2016)

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