Jan L. Coates (author); A HARE IN THE ELEPHANT'S TRUNK; Red Deer Press (Middle Readers: Fiction) $12.95 ISBN: 9780889954519
Byline: Mary Popham
The orphaned "Lost Boys of Sudan," the most likely to survive of the two million people displaced during the late 1980s and early 1990s, seek refuge in Ethiopia and Kenya. In A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk, author Jan L. Coates takes the experiences of one real-life survivor, Jacob Deng, and creates a vivid and detailed story.
Young Jacob plays peacefully in his Sudanese village. He makes clay figures, gives his little sister rides on his back, and watches his beautiful mama wash clothes at the river and grind millet for supper porridge. Singing and storytelling are a large part of their lives. They sing special songs to go to sleep, to soothe the cows, or to urge a baby to come.
Then war intrudes. Jacob's uncle explains it this way: "The government in the north wants to get rid of all the black Africans in Southern Sudan, or have us do their work." The southern Sudan's oil and fertile land are also desirable assets. When Jacob is seven years old, soldiers attack his village, and he must flee.
Jacob's big feet have earned him his nickname, "the Hare." Like the fabled small hare who outsmarts an elephant, he wishes he could overcome the elephant-soldiers who ride in to the village shooting and stabbing, while tanks crush and helicopters drop fire on the people's huts. Amid...