The Great Elephant Rescue

Illustrator: William Grill

Binding: Hardcover

Imprint: Flying Eye Books

Age 6+

History & The Past: General Interest

In this moving tale, join war veteran James Howard Williams as he encounters Bandoola, a

When a world war comes to Myanmar (Burma), one special elephant becomes a hero. As people are forced to leave their home in the Burmese jungle, Bandoola, his keeper Po Toke and war veteran James Howard Williams (Aka Elephant Bill), undertake a journey that will test their courage, taking trust, understanding and bravery to the very limit. Together, they lead a group of 53 elephants and over 200 refugees to safety, scaling 6000ft mountains as they trek from Myanmar to northern India.

In this moving tale based on a true story, award-winning William Grill's stunning illustrations show the majesty of Myanmar's forests and mountains, the backdrop to a heart-warming tale about empathy between humans and animals, and the strength that can arise from working together when the world is full of danger.


William Grill is a London based illustrator whose main interest lies in narrative illustration and publishing. He draws most of his inspiration from the natural world, and enjoys working in coloured pencils and relief printmaking; his first book Shackleton’s Journey won the 2015 Kate Greenaway award and has been translated into over 14 languages. As well as running a weekly art club William has given workshops at The Design Museum, Southbank Centre, schools and universities.


Bandoola and war veteran James Howard Williams undertake a journey that tests their courage to the limit in the exceptionally beautiful new book from Kate Greenaway Medal-winner Grill

The Bookseller, October 2021: Children's Previews

A wonderful story and significant historical record of the life of working elephants in Myanmar as well as world events at the time. A valuable and informative book to share with students when sharing stories on Remembrance Day as well as a great resource on elephant facts.

Read Plus

Grill brings to life the lush forests of Myanmar and the chunky, angular elephants within. He manages to create such detail with just a few lines, that I found myself poring over the drawings again and again. The epilogue reminds us, the readers, that elephants around the world are still in need of help. It is an important message, that all creatures deserve to be treated with respect and care. This book could prompt important discussions within a home, library or classroom about conservation, history, colonialisation and the wider effects of war. I highly recommend it.

Reading Time

Other books you'll love