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Elephant Run

Elephant Run

4.5 42
by Roland Smith

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In 1941, bombs drop from the night skies of London, demolishing the apartment Nick Freestone lives in with his mother. Deciding the situation in England is too unstable, Nick's mother sends him to live with his father in Burma, hoping he will be safer living on the family's teak plantation.

But as soon as Nick arrives, trouble erupts in the remote Burmese


In 1941, bombs drop from the night skies of London, demolishing the apartment Nick Freestone lives in with his mother. Deciding the situation in England is too unstable, Nick's mother sends him to live with his father in Burma, hoping he will be safer living on the family's teak plantation.

But as soon as Nick arrives, trouble erupts in the remote Burmese elephant village. Japanese soldiers invade, and Nick's father is taken prisoner. Nick is left stranded on the plantation, forced to work as a servant to the new rulers. As life in the village grows more dangerous for Nick and his young friend, Mya, they plan their daring escape. Setting off on elephant back, they will risk their lives to save Nick's father and Mya's brother from a Japanese POW camp.

In this thrilling journey through the jungles of Burma, Roland Smith explores the far-reaching effects of World War II, while introducing readers to the fascinating world of wild timber elephants and their mahouts.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Fourteen-year-old Nick Freestone is sent from London in 1941 by his mother to protect him from the German air raids. As he arrives in Burma to live with his father on the family teak plantation, he is thrust from one theatre of war directly into another. Though Nick had been eagerly anticipating the opportunity to reconnect with his father and learn about the management of the family plantation, particularly the elephants used to harvest the teak, this is not to be. Now safe from the German army, he and his father are taken prisoner by the Japanese army. Nick is kept on as slave labor at the plantation while his father is sent to a POW camp nearby. Maya, the beautiful sister of one the plantation elephant handlers is imprisoned at the plantation as well. Her beauty draws her unwanted attention and puts her in danger. As one of her captors escalates his advances towards her, Nicks father is becoming sicker and sicker in the POW camp. Nick and Maya decide they must escape. With the help of a local monk and one of the plantation elephants, Nick and Maya attempt to escape, taking Nicks father with them. This book provides a moving story of a boy’s journey into manhood as well as an action-packed adventure that keeps the pages turning. It also provides a look at the innocent victims of war, the animals. The interactions between man and elephant in this book are fascinating. This is a great book to draw boys or reluctant readers into the realms of historical fiction. Reviewer: Caroline B. Hopenwasser
School Library Journal

Gr 5-7
As German bombs fall on London, 14-year-old Nick is sent to Burma to live with his British father on their teak plantation. Unforeseen in this plan is the impending invasion that puts them, along with the locals, under Japanese rule. Nick is forced to work on the plantation for the brutal commanders and his father is placed in a labor camp. The boy's predicament escalates as his trust in the Burmese employees who once worked for his father is challenged by their newfound loyalty to the Japanese. Escape through the jungle, with the help of a well-respected monk and great-grandfather to the boy's new friend Mya, is the only way out. This novel is filled with intrigue, danger, surprising plot twists, and suspense. It's a well-developed historical adventure with villains and heroes that describes aspects of British colonization, forced occupation, and World War II.
—Rita SoltanCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
It's out of the frying pan and into the fire for 14-year-old Nick Freestone, as he is sent out of London during the Blitz only to arrive at his father's teak plantation in Burma right before the Japanese invade. When his father is taken prisoner and hauled off to a prisoner-of-war camp and the plantation is taken over by the Japanese, Nick eventually escapes and reunites with his father with the help of an ancient Buddhist monk, a beautiful, smart girl named Mya, a Burmese Robin Hood, a rampaging bull elephant and various people resisting the Japanese occupation. It's the thrilling adventure tale Smith is known for, strong on plot and setting, and though the beginning is an uneasy mix of story and information, the tale soon rolls. Adult readers will be reminded of The Bridge on the River Kwai, as the threats of the steamy jungle and the brutality of enemy soldiers are twin complications in a country at war. An adventure tale that is also a family story-as is Smith's other 2007 title, Peak. (Fiction. 10-13)

Product Details

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Product dimensions:
4.70(w) x 7.58(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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Meet the Author

Roland Smith is the author of Zach's Lie, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers; Cryptid Hunters; Thunder Cave; Jaguar; The Last Lobo; and Sasquatch. He lives outside of Portland, Oregon, with his wife Marie, who also writes children's books.

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Elephant Run 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 42 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elephant Run By Roland Smith Do you like adventure? If you do you should read Elephant Run. POW!!!! Have you been in a house that got bombed? Well Nick has been. It's 1941 and World War 2 is happening. Nick goes to live with his dad in Burma. His dad is a mahout, an elephant trainer. Read this book to know if Nick is safe from the Japanese enemies. I like this book because it tells you how hard it was when the Japanese enemies ruined Nick's life. I recommend this book to 4th graders, 5th graders and 6th graders. There are some bad words so if that bothers you then don't read it. Reviewed by Ismael Rashid
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elephant Run written by Roland Smith is a great book and I really recommend it. Although the title is a little silly do not underestimate it. Once the bombs start dropping in London Nick’s mom finds it safer for him to live with his father in Burma at his timber elephant plantation and they were wrong. Once the Japanese invade basically all of Asia with their slogan “Asia for Asians” some of the native Burmese decide they want the plantation for themselves so most of them side with the Japanese. Escaping is Nick Freestone and his father’s number one priority with his newly found friend Mya. They then must go on a series of adventures together. I really recommend this book there are never parts when you get bored and just want to skip a chapter. This is a great book and you should really  read it.
bookbest More than 1 year ago
This book was thrilling it had many cilff hangers and that made me keep on reading it !! When you start you cant stop. It had a mix of happy spots to sad spots but that is what made it great.This book is great for parnets and childern it tells you about how bad things can get but how those bad things become great. I think of all of this and im not even 14 yet.
GerardButlerLover More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book full of suspense and edge of your seat action! last 100 pages I couldnt put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This in the BEST book I have EVER READ! You have to read this book or even buy it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book by far beats most books I have ever read by far. I love his books and his book, Cryptid Hunters, got me into Cryptozoology now I want to be a cryptozoologist when I grow up. Elephant Run was the perfect book for me because I like action and thrill. I may have said this about other books but this one I don`t highly recommend it you need to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elephant Run is a realistic fiction novel by Ronald Smith. The novel follows the life of Nicholas Freestone a fourteen year old boy who lives in London, England during World War Two. In order to escape the London Blitz Nicholas’s mom sends him to Burma to live with his father who lives on an elephant plantation. Very shortly after Nick arrives on the plantation the Japanese take over Burma. After the Japanese moved everyone off the plantations Nick along with Mya and Hilltop are taken by the Japanese to be their servants. Now Nick, Mya, and Hilltop must escape the Japanese before their time is up. I find that the author did accomplish their purpose of this book by having a true setting of what Burma was like, the true stakes and horror the characters experience when the Japanese took over, and having well developed characters and plot that will keep people reading. I recommend this novel for anyone who loves action and adventure with a dramatic story to it. I give this novel five out of five stars because to having a well thought out plot with action and characters that we can understand.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
It is 1941, and fourteen year old Nicholas Gillis Freestone, known as Nick, lives in London, England, with his mother who works at the American Embassy. His stepfather, Bernard Culpepper, is an Army intelligence officer who is off on a secret mission. When Nick was five, his mother divorced his father, Jackson Theodore Freestone the Third, a teak plantation owner in Burma, returned to the States with Nick, and remarried. But now that bombs are dropping from the night skies of London and demolish their apartment, Nick’s mother sends him to live with his father at Hawk’s Nest, hoping that he will be safer on the Burmese plantation. There he meets his dad’s foreman, Nang, Nang’s son and daughter, Indaw and Mya, the Buddhist monk known as Taung Baw or “Hilltop,” and the plantation’s mahouts. However, as soon as Nick arrives, trouble erupts in the remote jungle of Burma as Japanese soldiers invade. Nick’s father and Indaw are taken away as prisoners to engage in forced labor. Nick and Mya are left stranded on the plantation, forced to work as servants to the new Japanese rulers. As life at Hawk’s Nest grows more dangerous for the two young people, they plan their daring escape. Can they survive? Will they make it out or will they get caught? And what can they do about Nick’s father and Mya’s brother in a Japanese POW camp? Some readers might want to know that there are a few references to smoking cheroots. Of course, given the geographical setting, mention is made of Buddha, Buddhism, and Buddhist monks. And since this is a book about war, naturally some deaths and even one beheading take place. On a few occasions it is said that someone, including Nick, “swore,” although no actual swear words are found, except that the “d” word is used once and someone says “My God” as an exclamation. Also, some childish slang terms occur. Because of the descriptive nature of the violence, this book by author Roland Smith, who also wrote Zach’s Lie, is probably not a good story for younger children. The usual age range given is from 10 to 12 (middle school students), but I would say that it is more for ages 12 and up. Most teens should have no problem with it. However, from a positive standpoint Elephant Run not only explores the far-reaching effects of World War II, especially the less frequently discussed war in Asia, but also provides a good deal of information about Burma (now Myanmar) and introduces readers to the fascinating world of wild timber elephants and their mahouts. It is an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults that will appeal to lovers of exciting, historical adventure novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
     Elephant Run by Roland Smith is thrilling journey from London, England to the jungles of Burma. The book takes place in World War 2. The book starts off strong when bombs drop from the night sky and destroys Nick freestone’s and his mother’s apartment. This scared Nick’s mom so much that she sent Nick away to love with his dad in Burma.      Once Nick arrives, Japanese soldiers invade the Burmese elephant village. Now this has changed Nick’s life because now his father was taken in as a prisoner and he is also forced to work as a servant to the Japanese.  During this time, Nick meets a friend named Mya and they plan out a way to escape. They set off on an elephants back to try and save Nick’s father and Mya’s brother from the POW camp. With help from sergeant Sonji’s help Nick and Mya are able to set Indaw, Mya’s brother and Nick’s father free. Then on the way to Australia they are all recaptured by the Japanese soldiers. Just before they are all about to be executed a Hannibal attacks the Japanese soldiers.      This story has many ups and downs for Nick. The book made me imagine on how war would have been like. It is scary to think about it. I felt like I was in that dangerous jungle with Nick. It felt like I was witnessing the book in real life. This book is a very good book and you should read it.       -Bradley Brown 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the book Elephant Run by Roland Smith, the main character Nick Freestone has to go live with his dad on a teak plantation in Burma because of the bombing that is taking place in London. While on the plantation, he meets a Burmese girl Mya and they become good friends. Just a few days after Nick’s arrival, Japanese forces take over the plantation and put Nick’s father and Mya’s older brother Indaw in a Prisoner of War camp. The Japanese also execute Mya’s father to show that they are in charge. Nick stays on the plantation because Nick’s father made a deal with Colonel Nagayoshi that if Nick stayed on the plantation, the Colonel would send him to India where he would be safe. Colonel Nagayoshi does not send Nick to India, instead he has him stay on the plantation for ten long months and work in the Colonel’s garden. Nick is regularly beaten by Bukong who gained power when the Japanese came on the plantation. After ten long months Nick and Mya along with Mya’s great-grandfather, Hilltop, come up with a way to escape the plantation and rescue Nick’s father and Mya’s brother. I would give this book 5 out of 5 stars because it has a lot of action and plot twist that keeps you turning the page. I would recommend this book because it is fun to read and contain a lot of action
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for school. I want into it thinking that it would be terrible(Like most school choices). Even after all that I loved the book and couldnt put it down. Readers of all ages will enjoy this book!
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ulr54mm More than 1 year ago
this book is the best book in the world
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
keaton More than 1 year ago
Book Review Elephant Run By Roland Smith Elephant Run by Roland Smith is a great example of historical fiction. This story is a must read for children ages 12-15. This is the kind of book you can't out down, a true page turner! The adventures, characters, and setting that Mr. Smith created allow the reader to deepen their understanding of WWII. His descriptive skill of the characters allows readers to connect to the characters. Mr. Smith's design of the story allows for readers to make predictions of characters fate throughout the story. I give this author a rating of an A for his work Elephant Run. I believe he has earned this rating based on his ability to weave a story based on realistic, descriptive, and factual information. One example found on page 21 illustrates Smith's descriptive ability. Nick the son of the plantation owner describes his father that he had not seen for years, "His tea colored eye eyes had sunk deeper into the sockets as if he had lost weight." This description really allows the reader to create an image of his dad. Page 14 portrays true accounts of WWII such as the bombing of Rangoon. In summary Elephant Run is a book that tells the story of a child named Nick Freestone who lived in England. Unfortunately, during Nick's time in London it came under attack from the Germans. Given the situation Nicks mother decided that he should move to his father's (they are divorced) residence in Burma. While in Burma the Japanese invaded the region of Nick's father. The circumstances revolving around the invasion and Nick's well being is dramatically reveled throughout the story. I highly recommend you reading and finding out if Nick survives.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nick Freestone lives in London with his divorced mom. His birth dad lives in Burma and his step dad works for the military in World War 2. One night during the war Nick's apartment gets set on fire. His mom sends him right to Burma to live with his father. Only a few days after Nick's arrival, the Japanese take over the plantation and the house where his dad lives. Nick makes a new friend named Mya while his dad gets sent with Mya's brother to a prisoner of war camp. For weeks in Burma he sees nobody but guards, soldiers, and a well-respected monk who is not imprisoned. Mya and Nick with the help of the monk plan a daring escape on a dangerous elephant's back. Is it worth the risk to see if Nick's father is still alive? Will Nick and Mya make the right choice?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
im in eight grade, and my teacher made us read this for a book report. its a very good book about history and what some people had to go through. while reading this book you get absorbed into the book and cant stop reading it. it is one of the few historical type books that i actually enjoyed. i would recommend this book to anyone.
hiers1385 More than 1 year ago
This was a very good book and was definitely a good choice for the SC book awards. This book is set in the jungles of Burma on a Teak plantation. When the Japanese come and take over the plantation Nick, the main character, and Mya, a girl from the village, are taken capture and forced to work as slaves. Nick has to find a way to escape and save his father who was taken to a work camp before Nick is hurt or killed. Once Nick escapes he goes on a huge adventure on elephant back across India to find his father and get back to England and his mom. This story has a great ending and a wonderful plot and will keep you riveted to the very end. Roland Smith writes very good books and this one is no exception. Once you read this one you will want to read all of his books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was read by 6th grade reading classes. The kids loved it and begged to read ahead. This was a high-interest level read for the non-readers!
lizzie72 More than 1 year ago
A war book with ton of action and some life long lesson. Big changes have happened to Nick's life and it the problems continue! Learn more by reading this Book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Elephant Run is far from horrible. Elephant Run is possibly the best book i have ever read. I would recommend this book to everyone! If you think this book is bad than I don't know what you would possibly like. This book will always keep you on the edge of your seat.