Impulsive and brazen, Chaya is a school girl who does all the wrong things for all the right reasons.
This modern Robin Hood tale begins as she swipes the Queens Jewels, hoping to help her friend who needs money for a doctor.
Through her actions, Chaya unwittingly lands her best friend a death-sentence, which they then try and outrun in an adventure through the jungle, all on the back of the Royal elephant (also stolen, of course).
Pursued by the King’s men, It looks like there’s no way back for these exiles, but sometimes, help can come from the most unexpected places.
With one close shave after the next, the story is lively and moves along at a satisfyingly brisk pace. But the most memorable element of this book definitely is the setting. Heady and exotic, it is a fictional Sri Lanka, verdant, tropical and sticky with heat. A place of riotously fragrant frangipani and jasmine, jambu fruit and rice paddies, all inspired by author Nizrana Farook’s homeland.
The writing is vivid and multi sensory, allowing these details to be richly imagined. The setting is so intoxicating, that you’ll be willing to gloss over some of the likely practicalities of three ill-equipped kids on the run. Chances are, you just won’t want their adventure to end. Title: The Girl who Stole an Elephant
Author: Nizrana Farook
Publisher: Nosy Crow, $14.99
Publication Date: 2nd January 2020
For ages: 8 – 12
Type: Middle Grade Fiction