Walker Books, 2022
32pp., hbk., RRP $A26.99
When they came, the herd scattered in fright, their trumpeting calls shattering the morning. Seree and her mother were cornered. Life in the jungle was good for young Seree and her mother until the day poachers come. Separated from her mother and the life she knows, Seree is taken to work in a circus. Forced to perform every day and spend each night in chains, Seree longs to be with the herd and reunited with her mother. Will she ever be free?
This is another picture book that, on the surface, looks like it is for young readers, but which would be really useful with older students aware of animal conservation and the plight of many creatures.
In 1992, 30 years ago, the ACT introduced ground-breaking legislation that banned the use of exotic animals in circuses and by April this year, 45 countries had imposed similar bans. Reminiscent of Elizabeth Stanley’s The Deliverance of Dancing Bears it can open up discussions about how animals are used and treated, and whether there is ever a place for their being in captivity but also how attitudes have changed and it is the voice of the people calling for that change that has made the difference. So while the focus of the book may seem anachronistic, its importance in continuing to shine a spotlight on the welfare and treatment of animals in general, and elephants in particular, will sadly, always be necessary. There are always those willing to exploit our wild creatures for any reason that makes them money and while it may no longer be for circuses, there are other heinous issues that must be wiped out, before the elephants themselves are gone. The author is an ambassador for Save Elephant Foundation and offers more information about their plight and what can be done in the final page.