Who would have thought that the emperor Charlemagne would make friends with an albino elephant, a gift from the caliph of Baghdad? Told from the fictionalized point of view of a monk who set down the actual story in 883 884 CE, the book follows the elephant’s journey through Egypt, across the Mediterranean to Italy and across the Alps to Germany. When the elephant finally reaches his destination, Charlemagne is so delighted with his exotic new pet that he introduces him to his many children and bathes with him in the hot springs near his palace. When the elephant dies of old age, the emperor is heartbroken.
Jon Cannell invigorates his charming mixed-media artwork with artifacts, paintings, and sculpture from earlier centuries. An Author’s Note about the origins of the story and the remarkable water clock carried by the elephant is included.
About the Author
Mary Tavener Holmes graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University with an MA and a PhD. For more than thirty years, she has worked as a curator, teacher, and author in the field of European art. She is also the author of My Travels with Clara and, with John Harris, A Giraffe Goes to Paris. She lives in New York City with her husband, three children, and two cats.
John Harris, a former editor at The Smithsonian Institution and the J. Paul Getty Museum, lives in Santa Monica, California. His most recent book is Jingle Bells: How the Holiday Classic Came to Be.