Small as an Elephant by Jennifer Richard Jacobson, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Small as an Elephant
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Small as an Elephant

4.6 33
by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
     
 

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Jack’s mom is gone, leaving him all alone on a campsite in Maine. Can he find his way back to Boston before the authorities realize what happened?

Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and "spinning" wildly until it’s over. But Jack never

Overview

Jack’s mom is gone, leaving him all alone on a campsite in Maine. Can he find his way back to Boston before the authorities realize what happened?

Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and "spinning" wildly until it’s over. But Jack never thought his mom would take off during the night and leave him at a campground in Acadia National Park, with no way to reach her and barely enough money for food. Any other kid would report his mom gone, but Jack knows by now that he needs to figure things out for himself - starting with how to get from the backwoods of Maine to his home in Boston before DSS catches on. With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins the long journey south, a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties - and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I believe in Jack and his ability to understand his mother in shades of gray. I believe in his ability to be fiercely independent: to try and try and try . . . and at the same time to recognize that he needs others. That others are right there, waiting to catch him."
- Jennifer Richard Jacobson — Quote
ALAN Review - Barbara A. Ward
When his mother disappears during a camping trip to Acadia National Park, Jack Martel must rely on his own survival instincts, since he fears seeking help from the authorities. He believes his mother will be right back, and if worse comes to worst, there's no way he can risk her being charged with abandonment, which is likely to happen if the authorities realize he's on his own. While it hasn't been easy, life with his mother is exciting, especially during her exuberant periods. But the ups are always followed by periods of malaise and depression, and Jack has learned to carefully hide his family's secrets. After his food and money run out, he decides to make his way home to Boston. Readers will root for him to arrive safely, helped along the way by the kindly strangers who befriend him. Especially poignant is his love for elephant-related trivia and totems. Reviewer: Barbara A. Ward
VOYA - Suanne B. Roush
Jack Martell has led an emotionally unsettled life thanks to his mother who swings from loving and caring to neglectful. More than once, he has been left alone when his mother has disappeared. He has been warned not to tell anyone because he will be given to his grandmother who is "evil" and wants to take him from her. The one constant in his life are elephants; he has always been obsessed by them. For years his mother fed this obsession, but when Jack angers her on the way to Mount Desert Island, Maine, by asking to go see Lydia, the only elephant in the state, his mother disappears during their first night camping in Acadia National Park, leaving Jack with only his sleeping bag, backpack, and about $15. Jack tries to call his mother but only gets her voicemail. After his phone gets ruined, and he realizes that he will not be able to stay in the park, Jack packs his sleeping bag, the clothes he can fit into his backpack, and starts looking for his mother. For a boy who has been left to fend for himself before, Jack makes some jarringly childish decisions; his journey strains credulity with a too-pat ending, bringing the elephant theme full circle. Students interested in Maine or elephants may like the book, but it is not a title that will fly off the shelves. Reviewer: Suanne B. Roush
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Jack, 11, has a bit of an obsession with elephants. The day after he and his mother argue about whether or not they could stop to see an elephant named Lydia at an animal park in York, ME, as part of their vacation, Jack wakes up in his tent at a campground in Acadia National Park to find his Mom, her gear, and her car are gone. Jack is worried, but not totally surprised, as readers learn that this also happened when he was seven. That incident resulted in Jack being placed temporarily with his grandmother, whom his mother always warned him against. So to avoid a repeat of that fate, Jack goes on the lam, stealing an elephant figurine from a gift shop and vegetables from a garden, and arousing suspicion at the library in Bar Harbor. Reminiscent in plot, tone, and quality of Paula Fox's well-regarded Monkey Island (Orchard, 1991), the story certainly provides enough gritty details to make it clear that Jack is lucky to get along as well as he does, but avoids the worst predations that children alone in the world might confront. In the end Jack learns important lessons about his familial relationships and understands that his mother's unresolved mental health issues need not prevent him from moving forward with confidence.—Joel Shoemaker, formerly at South East Junior High School, Iowa City, IA
Kirkus Reviews

Eleven-year-old Jack is older than his years; he has to be. His mother, suffering from an unnamed mental disorder, has left him behind again. This time he is in a campground on Mount Desert Island in Maine, far from his Boston home. When he wakes up, there is no sign of his mother—no rental car, camping gear or food.Jack only has his cell phone (which his mother is not answering), $14, a tent and his love of elephants—a near-obsession that gives structure to his otherwise chaotic life. Because Jack is used to his mother's manic behavior, he quickly goes into survival mode, figuring out ways to get food and coming up with plans to get home to Boston while evading curious adults. Jack's mother has told him what will happen if he gets turned into the authorities: He will be put into foster care or, worse, sent to live with his maternal grandmother. While there are moments when Jack's journey relies on coincidence, and his ability to elude intervention stretches credibility slightly, Jacobson masterfully puts readers into Jack's mind—he loves and understands his mother, but sometimes his judgments are not always good, and readers understand. His love and knowledge of elephants both sustains him and pleasingly shapes the story arc. Jack's journey to a new kind of family is inspiring and never sappy.(Fiction. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763663339
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
04/09/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
52,199
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
790L (what's this?)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"I believe in Jack and his ability to understand his mother in shades of gray. I believe in his ability to be fiercely independent: to try and try and try . . . and at the same time to recognize that he needs others. That others are right there, waiting to catch him."
- Jennifer Richard Jacobson — Quote

Meet the Author

Jennifer Richard Jacobson is the author of several books for children and young adult readers, including the Andy Shane early chapter books, illustrated by Abby Carter. She lives in Cumberland, Maine.

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Small as an Elephant 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 33 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a sad book about a boy whose mother left him at a campground because of an argument they had. The boy sets out to find his mother and.....an elephant.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so great!!! Totally recomended!!! It reminded me so much of the book the dogs of winter. Both are great books and anybody should read them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I justbstarted this book and i cannot put it down. I tell myself im gonna read a few pages and end up reading fifty!! I highly reccomend this book! :)
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
Eleven-year-old Jack is left alone in a tent in Acadia National Park, Maine by his mother, who struggles with mental health issues. For years, Jack has protected her, not wanting to be turned over to state authorities and then to his grandmother. He realizes this is yet another time when his mother is "spinning" and vows to either find her or make his way home to Jamaica Plains, Massachusetts. He has been fascinated with elephants for years; he steals a small plastic elephant which reminds him of the stories and facts his mother has told him about the creatures. A live elephant in Maine figures into the story as well. The author writes in such a way that the reader will be afraid for Jack, afraid of the dangers of traveling by himself, afraid of being taken from his mother again, afraid that he and his mother might go to jail. We root for Jack over and over, to find his mom and the elephant, to not get caught by the police, to have his broken finger heal. This is a delightful book which might serve as a springboard to other books about teens on their own (sometimes called survival stories), such as books by Will Hobbs and Gary Paulsen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very fun-filled book that you will never know what will happen next. It is a daring adventure of a boy just trying to find his mom when she ran away while camping!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading this book, and to be honest, it was amazing! It is about an 11-year-old boy named Jack who is obsessed with elephants. Jack and his mom have traveled all the way up to Maine from their hometown in Massachusetts. When Jack wakes up in his tent the next morning, all traces of his mom are gone. Her car is gone, her tent is gone, the pots she left on the picnic table are gone. Now Jack must try to find his mother, while hiding from the police who are frantically looking for him. I found this book appropiate for teenagers, since I am one myself. I learned that when your parent goes missing, you can't start wandering and not tell and adult, unless you would like to work on your survival skills (haha). I would recommend this book to anyone who wants an adventure book, along with some elephant facts:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the favorites at my school and i can hardly get my hands on it! Good thing i can just buy it!!,!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book. I cried at the end. Such a great author. I recommend this for ages 10+. This is a MUST read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book! Its so touching if you want an fast-paced, sweet novel pick this book up and read it right now!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By yo mama
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Middle of this book o m g this book is so good
Zadunajsky More than 1 year ago
I found the book interesting. The boys love for an elephant and also wanting to find his mom kept me wanting to read to the end. It's great young adult book; one I would recommend to others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how you can just picture ot in ypur mind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Elephant
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stuff is good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kool book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is great book i love it:)
MrsO More than 1 year ago
I am not a teen...I'm a grandma who came upon this book at a thrift store and I thought it sounded interesting. Not only was the story a very good one, but I learned lots of facts about elephants that I never knew. Was hoping from page one that this young boy would place his trust in someone on his journey, and I was glad that he had the small elephant to be by his side.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book should be in a series called big as a mouse!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jacobson does a wonderful job of getting into the head of a young boy and how he uses his past experiences to survive on his own. Great ending.