The Girl who Stole an Elephant – Nizrana Farook.

Published in early January this year, The Girl who stole an Elephant is the stunning debut title from Nizrana Farook that tells of a young girl called Chaya and all that she experiences on her adventure through the jungle after she flees her home having put herself in danger as a consequence of her reckless actions. Chaya likes to explore forbidden areas such as the rooms of the palace, a place heavily guarded for fear of thieves. When she is spotted intruding the story depicts the severity of her circumstances and the tension within the scene beautifully as we follow Chaya in her bid to reach safety.

Confiding in her best friend only adds another name to the list of those that are likely to be persecuted for Chaya’s actions, and as much as it provides her with some much welcomed company and someone to watch her back throughout the ensuing adventure there is an under line feeling of guilt that her actions have such far reaching consequences, proven when others within her village are punished.

The authenticity of the landscapes and scenes within the book help to immerse the reader within the story from the offset, and ensure this is an unforgettable and immensely enjoyable read featuring a strong willed, brave female lead character on an incredible adventure, and her best friend accompanying her helps ensure that the book is relatable to all readers as this adds a male character to the mix. With a nod towards the notorious Robin Hood and his side kick Little John -given that Chaya did what she did for the benefit of those in dire need- this story definitely has you thinking about the poverty struggle, and how the actions of the wealthy impact that, and just like with the notorious duo from Sherwood Forest you admire the selflessness of Chaya and her friends, and find yourself willing them on to success as a consequence because good should always prevail.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and have no hesitations recommending this title to chapter book readers who will delight in the magical feel this adventure story provides which is reflected on the cover of the book, featuring Chaya on the Elephant she steals. It came as no surprise that this utterly stunning book has featured as a Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month during 2020, and indeed in doing so it has set the bar high for any books that follow. To be transported into a beautiful story that feels vibrant and energetic is something quite special, add the anticipation of being caught for the actions earlier in the story and you provide the reader with tension that keeps them gripped throughout and loving this content.

I cannot wait to see what comes next from Nizrana Farook as someone who is now a huge fan of her work, it would be amazing to continue reading about Chaya and her antics – like climbing out of bedroom windows to escape capture! This beautiful book was published on 2nd January 2020 by Nosy Crow.

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