Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Travels with Tarra

Travels with Tarra

Carol Buckley
Non Fiction
For ages 8 to 12
Tilbury House, 2002   ISBN: 0884482413

Tarra is an Asian elephant who traveled all the way from Burma to America on an airplane. The person who ordered and bought Tara was a man called Bob who owned a tire store in California. Bob hoped that the baby elephant would be his pet and a mascot for his business. Surely lots of people would come to his store if they knew he had a baby elephant there.

One day Carol was doing her homework when she saw a man walking a small baby elephant down the street. Carol could hardly believe her eyes. In college she was learning how to care for exotic animals, but she still had never been close to a real elephant before. Carol was delighted when Bob invited her to help him feed the elephant.

It was not long before Carol and Tarra were inseparable. Carol took care of Tarra, and she even took her home every evening so that Tarra would not be alone. Carol taught the elephant how to have good manners, and how to do some tricks. Tarra was an apt pupil, and soon Tarra and Carol were performing publicly, giving shows in a theme park, in a circus, and in many other places all over the country.

Then there came a time when Carol decided that Tarra needed a life more suited to an elephant. She needed to be around other elephants. Was a zoo the place for her, or could Carol create a home for Tarra somewhere else?

This is a true story about a woman who raised, loved, and cared for an elephant. It is also a story about Tarra, and what it is like for an elephant to live in captivity. Young readers will come to appreciate how hard it is to find a home for an animal that is not only very large, but that also needs to be around others of its kind. Elephants are incredibly social, and Carol wanted to provide Tarra with a herd of her own.

With wonderful black and white photographs throughout, this is a book that every elephant fan should read.