Cynthia Frazier


Excellent, Primary, Intermediate, Young Adult, Orphan, Magic, Fantasy, Elephant, Siblings

Document Type

Book Review


Peter Augustus Duchene is a ten-year-old orphan, taken in by an old soldier who served with his father. When a fortune teller comes to town, Peter uses his guardian’s food money to ask her a question that has long haunted him. She assures him that despite what he has been told, his baby sister is alive. To find her he must follow the elephant, but finding an elephant in the small town of Baltese seems impossible. However, during a magician’s performance at the Opera House, an elephant crashes through the ceiling, injuring a patron of the arts. For this, the magician and the elephant are thrown into prison. The stories of Peter, the elephant, his sister, the magician, the crippled Madam LaVaughn, a nun, the police chief and his wife, a stonecutter, and a beggar with his blind dog all intertwine in a curious tale that shows how even impossible things can sometimes be true.