By: Peter Carnavas
Genre: YFB - General fiction (Children's/Teenage)
Published by: University of Queensland Press
Published: 03 Jul 2017
ISBN: 9780702259616


‘An elephant?’ Arthur gasped. ‘In your house? But... is it real?’

Olive leaned a little closer and lowered her voice.

‘Well, that's the thing . . . ’

Olive’s father has a sadness so big that she imagines it as a large grey elephant following him around. With the help of her cheery grandfather and her best friend, Arthur, Olive sets out to chase away her father’s elephant.

Beautifully written, this novel from acclaimed author and illustrator Peter Carnavas will stay with you long after you finish.


Ever since her Mum passed away, Olive has lived with her Grandad, her Dad, and a sadness that is so big and grey that Olive imagines it as an elephant.

It’s an unwelcome visitor that makes her Dad tired and forgetful, and Olive knows he won’t ever be happy again unless she can figure out how to chase the elephant away for good.

With some help from her best friend Arthur, and advice from her grandfather, Olive comes up with a plan to finally rid her Dad of the sadness that’s been following him around.

From author and illustrator Peter Carnavas, The Elephant explores the tangible effect of loss on families, and how friendship, community, and celebrating memory can help overcome grief. While The Elephant addresses some heavy issues, Olive herself is a resilient and joyful character, and there's a lightness to the narrative coupled with gentle illustrations that make it ideal for discussing bereavement and depression with younger readers, from Grade one and up.

Reviewed by Lian