I've blogged about this book before, here. I'm not one to re-read books that often. I'm always working on what is next, rather than looking back at something I've really loved and enjoying it again. I'm so glad we have the chance to re-do some book club books. This one is a great one.
There are so many beautiful things said in this book. Having the story told from an animal's perspective gives a unique look at people's lives.
Some beautiful moments:
The new elephant, Ruby, is going to arrive soon. The animals can sense it. Stella, the elephant who has been in the mall for years, is especially excited.
p. 71 Stella pushes past Mack, nearly knocking him over. She rashes as best she can, limping heavily, toward the open back door of the truck. She catches her swollen foot on the edge of the ramp and winces. Blood trickles down.
Halfway up the ramp she pauses. The noise in the truck stops. Ruby falls silent.
Slowly Stella makes her way up the rest of the ramp. It growns under her weight, and I can tell how much she is hurting by the awkward way she moves.
At the top of the incline she stops. She pokes her trunk into the emptiness.
The tiny gray trunk appears again. Shyly, it reaches out, tasting the air. Stella curls her own trunk around the baby's. The make soft rumbling sounds.
p. 13 After our show, humans forage through the stores. A store is where humans buy things they need to survive. At the Big Top Mall, some stores sell new things, like balloons and t-shirts and caps to cover the gleaming heads of humans. Some stores sell old things, things that smell dusty and damp and long forgotten.
All day, I watch humans scurry from store to store. they pass their green paper, dry as old leaves and smelling of a thousand hands, back and forth and back again.
They hunt frantically, stalking, pushing, grumbling. Then they leave, clutching bags filled with things-bright things, soft things, big things - but no matter how full the bags, they always come back for more.
I love the character, Bob. He's a stray dog. No, he's kind of a gypsy. He doesn't like to be tied down. And he has strong opinions!
p. 79 When I awake the next morning, I see a little trunk poking out between teh bars of Stella's domain.
"Hello," says a small, clear voice. "I'm Ruby." She waves her trunk.
"Hello," I say. "I'm Ivan."
"Are you a monkey?" Ruby asks
Bob's ears perk up, although his eyes stay closed. "He's a gorilla," he says. "And I am a dog of uncertain heritage."
"I think she wants you to go inside," I expalin.
"But ther'es nothing inside," Ruby says, "except an apple."
"Inside that box," I say, "is the way out."
And they do get out. They end up going to live at a zoo where they're all very happy. Bob finds a home too. The interesting thing is the caretaker, the one who helps them get their message out so that they can escape the shopping mall, who is so afraid of losing his job, fixes everything. He loses one thing, but in the end it isn't lost. He gets a new and better job, and all the animals get a home.