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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Lonely Luke: African Bush Elephant (Critter a Week Print Book Selections) by Paul Hock is a warm, informative book that invites you into the world of an African Bush elephant named Luke. Luke was born in a Kenyan park named Amboseli, then orphaned while very young, but he always yearned to be reunited with his mother. Circumstances unfold to show you that kind-hearted people rescued him, and we follow his life after that.
This talented author brings the life of elephants to a higher, almost human plane. The pictures will enchant and endear Luke and his story to you. This is part of the Critter a Week Print Book Selections, a series that offers stories on different kinds of animals worldwide. What I like about Luke's story is that you get a feel for the close bond Luke shared with his mother and how she protected him from the dangers lurking in the savannah, including crocodiles, hyenas, and lions. Young readers will love the accompanying pictures and see how cute young elephants can be—for example, when Luke indulges in a mud bath from head to toe.
This story takes the mystery out of the elephant, and you get emotionally attached to Luke and his situation. You will learn surprising facts about elephants like males leaving the herd at about ten or twelve years of age. There is some sadness surrounding what happens to Luke's mom, but it is told sensitively and honestly. You will worry as you wonder if Luke will survive his ordeal as a young elephant. But keep reading because you will love the outcome. This story is ultimately about family; I'm sure many children can relate. For a unique, engaging story about elephants and family, Lonely Luke by Paul Hock should be at the top of your reading list.