I had a plan last year to read all the shortlisted books for Children's Book Council of Australia for Younger Readers 2018. I didn't quite make it, but I got through a couple!
I picked up The Elephant first. Within the first couple of pages I knew that I was going to adore this story. I continued to adore it until the last couple of chapters - when I promptly burst into tears. Honestly, I can't remember the last time it only took one line of prose to bring me to tears. It was an ending that I wasn't expecting but fitted the story so perfectly.
Rating:5 out of 5. This is the type of book that stays with you once it's done.
Age suggestion:8+. But see the content notes for more details
Ability range: 8+ for confident readers. It's easily accessible, with large font and plenty of pictures.
Content notes:Olive's mother has died, and her father carries around his grief around like a large grey elephant. Olive is determined to snap him out of this somehow so he can be the father she needs him to be. Her grandfather helps fill the gap, but all she wants is for her father to be okay again.
I love the way this novel deals with grief. There are children for which this will be way too real, and those who will hopefully be able to understand grief, as well as the grieving process and how it may affect their loved ones, better.
Finally, I don't recommend reading the ending out in public unless you don't mind a nice sob in front of others.