In the Village of the Elephants

Jeremy Schmidt, Author, Ted Wood, Photographer Walker & Company $15.95 (1p) ISBN 978-0-8027-8226-7
This well-crafted combination of Schmidt's ( A Boy Becomes a Man at Wounded Knee ) evocative prose and Wood's ( Himalaya Passage ) sharp photographs explores an unusual human/animal relationship, that of the elephants of Southern India and the mahouts (trainers) who care for them. Focusing on Bomman, the son of a mahout, and Mudumalai, his father's elephant, the book charts a typical day in the life of the team. The elephants, once used for logging, are seen here in their contemporary role as forest rangers, patrolling the preservations and crop fields. Lively photographs depict activities ranging from the morning bath in the river to the noontime feeding of the village elephants (Mudumalai receives 20-pound balls of specially concocted porridge) and correspond effectively to the text, which places the reader in the middle of the action (``Having an elephant throw sticks at you might seem like a strange way to wake up, but for Bomman it happens almost every morning''). On a larger scale, the book thoughtfully demonstrates how both humans and animals have had to adapt to a changing world. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
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