Stealing an elephant SEEMED like a good idea at the time?
September 1, 2008 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Yet another what-was-this-book! Girls, boys, circuses, elephants, scars, and running away...

Read sometime in the late 80s, maybe early 90s? The story is about 2 children who grew up in the circus, but must, as the girl is no longer able to perform after she has an accident which scars her face. The boy...I don't remember much about him. Think he's younger than her.

Anyway, rather than face going to normal school, they steal an elephant and run away from the, yeah. Did anyone else read this?
posted by InfinateJane to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Seems like a case for the Plotfinder section of Jezebel's Fine Lines column...
posted by peagood at 11:40 AM on September 1, 2008

This does seem familiar, but the best I can come up with is "Circus Shoes" by Noel Streatfield, which doesn't quite fit (kids run from foster home to live with uncle in the circus, eventually come to fit in with circus life, help figure out what's wrong with sick elephant
"My Parent's Didn't Steal an Elephant", a book which doesn't exist but was read by the boy in There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar

A really great website for finding half-forgotten children's books is the Stump the Bookseller pages at You post your memories of the book (this costs $2) and dozens of other visitors to the site, children's book lovers, librarians, etc., read the description and try to come up with what the book is. I've found at least ten childhood favorites this way, and solved a lot of other people's mysteries. If you don't want to pay, you can search the (huge) archives and see if anyone else has asked about this book.
(I don't have anything to do with the site, honest, I'm just a big fan)
posted by smoakes at 12:35 PM on September 1, 2008

I think it's much more recent, but could it be Water for Elephants? I'd recommend it either way...
posted by photomusic86 at 2:43 PM on September 2, 2008

This book seems like a good match for your description: Travelers by Night, by Vivien Alcock.

"A fast-paced adventure story about two former circus children involved in an unusual mission: to save an aging elephant from a slaughterhouse. Interwoven into the adventure is the story of Belle Marriot, a youngster who must come to terms with a large facial scar caused by a careless accident and Charlie, who, having saved her life, feels a deep and uneasy responsibility for the willful Belle."
posted by alyxstarr at 10:13 AM on November 2, 2008

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