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This beautifully illustrated children’s book offers a sobering lesson about the horrors of war through the lens of a Japanese zoo during WWII.
At Tokyo’s famous Ueno Zoo, a zookeeper recounts the story of three performing elephants—John, Tonky, and Wanly—who became casualties of the Second World War. As bombs fell nightly on the city, the zoo was in danger of destruction. In the interest of public safety, instructions were given to kill the potentially dangerous animals. Still, the elephant’s keepers wept and prayed that the war would end so that their beloved elephants might be saved.
Originally published in Japan in 1951, this heartbreaking historical tale is now available in English with beautiful watercolor illustrations by Ted Lewin.