Elephant Road discussion guide



Author: Nicola Davies

Publisher: Walker Books

Suggested Year Group: Four


One night, Wilen is woken up when his hut is tipped sideways by elephants! The elephants always travel past the village, which sits between two forest reserves, but recently, as land is cleared for crops, they have lost their way and are destroying the harvest. Uncle Denngu urges the villagers to sell the land to a mining company who will cut down the trees and get rid of the elephants. Wilen’s grandpa knows it’s a very bad idea but when he is killed by a cyclone there is no one to defend the forest. Wilen fears that all is lost … until he hears about a scheme that pays local people to plant trees and look after them.

Rationale for Selection

Nicola Davies has visited all the countries she writes about - and information about real conservation projects is included at the back of each book.

Points for Discussion:

Before reading:

  • Discuss the children’s experience of seeing elephants and their knowledge of them.

During reading:

  • On page 9, Grandpa describes the reserves as elephant palaces. What images come to mind when you hear the word 'palace'?
  • Does Grandpa mean a palace in the same way as we usually use the word?
  • “This is the modern world, Father,” Denngu growled. “Forests don’t pay and elephants belong in zoos.”How do you feel about this statement? Who do you think is right?
  • Denngu and Grandpa both use the word ‘richer’ on page 30. Do they mean the same thing? How would their definitions of the word be different?
  • At the end of Chapter Five, Willen says that he does want to be like his Uncle Denngu. What do you think Willen admires about his Uncle?
  • Page 39 Take some time to read the first paragraph and talk about how Nicola Davies paints a picture of the town.
  • Page 42. What is Denngu up to? How does Nicola Davies want us to see him? Are there particular words and phrases that are effective in making us realise that he is doing something wrong?
  • “There’s nothing evil about elephants. Only humans can be evil.”(p45)  Discuss Grandpa’s statement. What sort of things do humans do that makes Grandpa feel that they are evil?
  • What makes the old lady stay alone in Himandal? 
  • “Without the forest who would we be? The forest gives us our soul.” (p77) What does this mean?
  • Read to the end of page 95 and consider what Denngu has come to say. Do you think he will be on Wilen’s side?

After reading

  • Has Denngu learned any lessons by the end of the book? If so what are they?
  • Have you learned anything new by the end of this story? Share your thoughts in pairs or small groups


Copyright: Just Imagine Story Centre Ltd

All rights reserved.

These notes may be printed freely for use in classrooms but may not be reproduced in any other format without the permission of the author.




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