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“Confined to her nursing home bed, 82-year-old Lizzie tells an outrageous but true story to Karl and his mother. While awaiting the return of Papi from World War II, 16-year-old Lizzie, her young brother, Karli, and her mother make their garden home to a four-year-old orphaned elephant from the zoo. Dresden, Germany, is sure to be bombed, and the zoo will be forced to kill the larger animals that may pose a threat to the city. Marlene, the adored elephant, breaks loose, beginning a chase that leads them away from Dresden and saves them from warfare. Lizzie's story is laced with details that bring history to life.”
— Jane Morck, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
An Elephant in the Garden is Simon Reade's new adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's best-selling children's novel.1945. Dresden, Germany. Lizzie, her mother - and an elephant from the zoo, flee the Allied fire-bombing in the end-game of the Second World War. Escaping the Allies' advance from the West - and also the advancing Russian armies from the East - this extraordinary trio of refugees meet: a downed RAF officer, cowering in a barn; a homeless school choir on the run and their Countess saviour, harbouring them from the Nazis; and the mechanised American cavalry, appearing over the horizon. It is Lizzie's story - but Marlene, the elephant, is the heroine. Plodding, obdurate, opportunistic, loadbearing, indestructible, cheering - Marlene embodies the stubbornness of the human will and how it will do everything to survive.