Part of a series on animals and holiday observance, this is a book that focuses on remembrance.
An elephant never forgets, they say. The elephants photographed and described here use their memories to help themselves survive in the savannah. They need to remember where to find food and water. They need to remember to follow their leaders and stay together to continue to be strong and survive. The author compares the strength of these hardy animals who hold firmly onto their memories with the strength of the Jewish people who firmly hold onto their history and culture, and who also use their memories as a powerful tool to ensure survival. Jews remember, in particular, Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple. Tisha B’Av is a special day devoted to this remembrance. We remember Beit Hamikdash through the ages, both its joys and the overwhelming sadness of its destruction. We cling together, follow our leaders, and continue to remember, stay strong, and survive.
It’s an unusual analogy but maybe not completely unapt. Perhaps the imposing imagery of the massive elephants will help children remember, too.
An author’s note at the end teaches more about Tisha B’Av.
Recommended for ages 3 – 6.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.