Jack’s mom has left him alone at a campsite in Maine. Being used to his mothers sometimes "spinning" moods, he decides to try and get back to Boston by himself. But can he hide from the authorities until then? No way to contact his mom, no real money to speak of and thousands of miles between him and Boston, Jack’s adventure of courage and determination shows how, like elephants, we are a herd...just not always in the way we expected. — Jeanette
Spring 2011 Kids' Next List
“Over Labor Day weekend, 11-year-old Jack's mom takes him camping in Maine. When he wakes up that first morning and finds her gone along with the car and all their food, he knows he'll have to find his own way home. Jack's mother has always been unpredictable, but if she's 'spinning' she won't be making good decisions, and if he turns himself in, Social Services will probably make him live with his grandma. This is a great read about a young boy's determination to see things through to the end, and his realization that, although he was abandoned, he was never really alone.”
— Jamie Schildknecht, The Rediscovered Bookshop, Boise, ID
"A deeply perceptive look at the universal fear of abandonment." — Booklist (starred review)
Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and “spinning” wildly until it’s over. But now she is gone, leaving him all alone on a campsite in Maine. Can he find his way back to Boston before the authorities realize what happened? With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties — and his trust that he may be part of a larger herd after all.
About the Author
Jennifer Richard Jacobson is the author of several books for children and young adult readers, including the Andy Shane early chapter books, illustrated by Abby Carter. She lives in Cumberland, Maine.
Jack’s journey to a new kind of family is inspiring and never sappy —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Jack comes to realize that he hadn’t been alone, that family and people he didn’t even know were there for him in a ‘makeshift herd.’ The happy yet realistic ending leaves Jack (and readers) ‘light-headed with hope.' —Horn Book
Jennifer Richard Jacobson’s nuanced and heart-wrenching middle-grade novel, Small as an Elephant, gives a quiet force to one resilient boy and his mentally ill mother. —Bookpage
A classic journey story, this is a very believable and exciting adventure with modern accoutrements. —Library Media Connection
A near-perfect mix of poignancy, humor, and masterful writing make for an unforgettable journey. —Midwest Book Review