Elephant company : the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II

From Andrea Kalinowski

Author: Vicki Croke

Title: Elephant company : the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II

I have found quite frequently, in my reading life, one book leads to another interconnected book. I recently finished reading Elephant Company: the inspring true story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II by Vicki Constantine Croke, and, of course, the author mentioned various other books. Some of the books touted were authored by Vicki Croke herself and some were used to further her understanding of the animals about whom Vicki was talking.

Elephant Company was an enlightening and heroic read. Jim “Billy” Williams was an adventuresome soul and the advertisement for a teak forester called to that aspect of his soul. Through his teak forestry work, Billy came to recognize and appreciate the greatness and intelligence of the elephants employed by the teak company. Elephant Bill, as he came to be known in the teak forests of Burma, was sought out and trusted by the elephants to treat their ills. Elephant Bill, through his interactions with the elephants, learned how to command men through respect and not fear. Elephant Company spoke of the mutual bond that can form between human and animal if both sides respect each other. It was this bond which enabled Elephant Bill, the elephants and their handlers, to assist others in fleeing the Japanese soldiers entering Burma. I simply could not put the book aside until the last page had been turned.

Invisible Ellen

Fr0m Andrea Kalinowski

Author:  Shari Shattuck

Title:  Invisible Ellen

Have you ever wanted to be invisible? Have you ever wanted to slide along a wall and disappear into it or through the floorboards, perhaps, when someone is reading you the riot act? In Invisible Ellen by Shari Shattuck the principal character, Ellen, makes herself as invisible as possible. She observes the life of her neighbors and as an anthropologist would, records everything, but everything, in her notebooks. Her childhood was troubled and, being or attempting to be invisible, was a coping method. Do not move and the hunter cannot see you. Ellen is a habitual bus rider and her curiosity about the life of a blind rider forces her off the bus and onto her trail. This small act of curiosity, following the blind girl off the bus, somehow compels Ellen to a major act of bravery when she foils an attack on the blind girl. It is this one tiny impulsive action which begins the shredding of her invisibility shield. The blind girl, Temerity, draws Ellen back into the sometimes frustrating but sometimes wonderful world of humankind. It was a little slow to draw me in but overall a good, humorous read.