Young Izzie wishes he could join the Union Army with his brothers, Ario and Cal. He wonders what it would be like to “see the elephant”—soldier talk for going into battle for the first time. But it seems the closest Izzie will ever get to battle is visiting wounded soldiers at a Washington, D.C., hospital, where his aunt works as an Army nurse. When Izzie meets a wounded Rebel soldier who will soon be sent to prison, he realizes that the war may not be as simple as he once believed, and “seeing the elephant” takes on a whole new meaning.
Based on family history, Pat Hughes’s beautifully crafted story is complemented by Ken Stark’s exceptional watercolor paintings. Seeing the Elephant is a 2008 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.