Gr 4-6 Here we have Will, 12, living in a small Massachusetts town in the early 1800s, a town where, by chance, the first elephant ever seen in New England is being kept for the winter. Will, living with his mother Maddy, a strange, lovely woman dying of consumption, is the one chosen to care for the huge beast, and after his mother's death, he moves into the stable to share its quarters. In spring, when a new owner arrives to tour with the elephant, Will determinedly follows on foot, sure in his inner self that his destiny and that of the elephant are intertwined. Chance proves him right. The warm, sympathy-building text will be slim enough to entice reluctant readers, and the story is compelling enough to keep children reading to the end. While Will and the other humans in the story are fictitious, the tale is based on an actual historical elephant, Old Bet, who toured with her owner, marching by night and being exhibited by day. A good addition to animal stories, and to historical fiction collections. Patricia Manning, East chester Public Library, N.Y.