To mark the release of The Bookshop Girl, I am publishing my review of Sylvia Bishop’s charming first book, Erica’s Elephant.
This book reminded me of the wonderful writing of AA Milne, not just in the fabulous chapter titling like, “The Second Chapter: In which the Elephant earns a reputation”, but also in the manner in which the Elephant’s abilities and personality are written.
When Erica finds an elephant on her doorstep, little does she know the friendship they will form or the lengths she will go to protecting him from being sent to a zoo. Accustomed to living alone, this ten-year-old is incredibly resourceful, finding ways to fund feeding Elephant and learning about his care. When the authorities catch up with Erica, she finds an unlikely ally and a hidden talent – will these be enough to save her situation?
Ashley King’s pen and ink illustrations perfectly draw out the humour in Sylvia Bishop’s story-telling; I particularly love his interpretation of Erica’s busybody neighbour, Mrs Pritchett, which truly highlights his cartoonesque ability. In other parts of the book, such as scenes at the zoo, his eye for detail is delightful.
An enchanting debut book, perfect to read to children from about six and for confident readers them to enjoy from eight.
Written by Sylvia Bishop; Illustrated by Ashley King; Published by Scholastic, 2 June 2016
The Bookshop Girl, the second collaboration between Sylvia Bishop and Ashley King was released by Scholastic on 6th April 2017.