BBOK REVIEW: Saving Lilly

Saving Lilly

This is a nice chapter book which will be a hit with animal-loving youngsters and humane educators alike. The story centers on a pair of sixth-graders, Erin and David, who learn of a circus owner’s plans to “retire” Lilly the elephant to a canned hunting ranch. The students spring into action, of course, to rescue the pachyderm.

Kehret’s strong characterizations set her work apart from many other Juv Fiction paperbacks. I especially liked the realistic conflict between would-be elephant rescuer Erin and her teacher, Mrs. Dawson—who has planned a field trip to the circus. Wrote Carolyn Mullin of the blog Vegbooks :

Mrs. Dawson is determined to relive her happy childhood memories of going to the circus with her grandfather, despite Erin and David’s attempts to show her the astonishing number of animal welfare violations the circus had been cited for. The dynamic duo tries to educate fellow students on the inherent cruelty of using animals for entertainment and encourage them to boycott the field trip, but constantly run up against Mrs. Dawson. Erin and David are a testament to what passion and determination can achieve in the midst of adversity.

The fact is, older doesn’t always mean wiser, especially when it comes to animal issues. Kehret did a great job of writing about an adult with her blinders snapped on tight, and young people facing the challenge of gently and respectfully loosening them. I frequently thought back to my own past as a kid who cared about animals, surrounded by teachers and relatives who “don’t want to know.”

And even better—Kehret doesn’t constantly have her young animal rescuers wolfing down meat dishes like those in Laurie Halse Anderson’s similarly-targeted Vet Volunteers series. While no one is identified as a vegetarian, I did happily note that all of the food referenced in the story was meatless.

Saving Lilly will be enjoyed by animal friends of all ages.

(review originally appeared at


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Marcellus Dokka
    Nov 13, 2011 @ 17:14:22

    Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol


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