Sobol, Richard. 2004. AN ELEPHANT IN THE BACKYARD. New York: Dutton. ISBN: 0525472886.
Set in Tha Klang, Thailand, AN ELEPHANT IN THE BACKYARD is the latest photo essay picture book by Richard Sobol. Engaging
text and photos invite children to explore a unique Thailand village where elephants play an active role in the human community.
"Like most villages in Thailand, Tha Klang is filled with all kinds of people...But what makes Tha Klang different from
other villages is that it has elephants, too. For the children of Tha Klang, elephants are part of their families."
The heroine of AN ELEPHANT IN THE BACKYARD is the village's most famous elephant, Wan Pen. This special elephant is introduced
as the four-legged sister of Jak and Muay. "She is friendly and gentle, happy to walk through the neighborhood with the
children riding on her back, stopping to pick up friends who run alongside, eager for a ride." Full of factual trivia
about elephants and Thailand, Sobol shows readers a whole new world where elephants walk on balance beams, play soccer with
the local kids, and attend school--elephant school that is! "Her lessons look more like gymastics class. Even though
she weighs as much as a car and has a big fat belly, she learns to balance and walk on narrow boards and steps. She can bow
and kneel, dance and shake her butt, and even raise her trunk to say hello or ask for food or drink."
Combining interesting facts with engaging--almost unbelievable--photos, AN ELEPHANT IN THE BACKYARD is an enjoyable book
for kids of all ages. Sobol also provides his readers with additional facts about elephants in his afterward.