The Great Elephant Chase by Gillian Cross

The Great Elephant Chase

Written by Gillian Cross

9+ readers   eBooks   
Download an extract Add to wishlist Share this book

The Lovereading4Kids comment

Prize-winning author Gillian Cross tells a wonderful adventure of how two children and an elephant travel across America trying to escape the clutches of a rapacious crook, who is determined to get his hands on the creature at almost any price. After a series of accidents, orphaned Tad finds himself in charge of Kush, a highly intelligent elephant whose owner has been using him to make money by performing tricks. But hiding an elephant is no easy task and Tad’s adventures, including loading Kush onto a boat and travelling by river in an attempt to stay ahead of his pursuers, is a thrilling story peopled with a vivid cast of crooks, con men and kind hearted strangers.


The Great Elephant Chase by Gillian Cross

Tad and Cissie are on the run with Khush the elephant. Clammy-fingered, steely-eyed Hannibal Jackson will do anything to capture the animal. Maybe even kill ...Staying ahead means being faster and smarter-but how do you hide an elephant? Especially one with a mind of its own.


'An undoubted classic'

'A beautifully paced story ... an exciting, genuinely rewarding adventure'

'A rollicking adventure of a book, taking you on a twisting journey across the USA that will leave you breathless'

'A wonderful book ... the writing is so good that you don't even notice it.'

'damn good storytelling'

'Not only is the book nail-bitingly exciting, it's also concerned with the big questions in life: right behaviour and the ability to endure in the face of greed, cruelty and exploitation.'

About the Author

Gillian Cross

Gillian Cross has won numerous literary prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, the Whitbread Children’s Novel Award (now the Costa), and the Smarties Prize.

“Books have always been an important part of my life. As a child, I spent a lot of time writing stories, or acting them out with my friends. I write because I love telling stories and finding out about things. My stories don't have 'messages', but I like to write about people in difficult and dangerous situations. I'm interested in how they cope and the decisions they make.”

I was born near London, on Christmas Eve 1945. I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t read, and books have always been an important part of my life. As a child, I spent a lot of time writing stories, or acting them out with my friends.

Then I went to Oxford, to study English, and met my husband, Martin. We got married when we were both twenty one, had a baby son, Jon, and lived in a village outside Oxford in a cottage next door to an old-fashioned bakery. I used to help the baker twice a week. Jon came too. He sat on the floor and played while I kneaded the dough.

Ever since then, I’ve had a happy time looking after my family and writing. Martin and I now have four children – Anthony was born in 1984 and Katy was born in 1985. We’ve moved a couple of times and at the moment we’re living in a beautiful village in Warwickshire. When I’m not writing, I orienteer (like everyone else in the family), play the piano (very badly) and edit the Parish Magazine.

I've done quite a lot of travelling abroad to speak about my books. I've been to Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, Brazil, Australia and Mexico, among other places. Wherever I go, I like to talk to people (of course) and to look at paintings and sculptures.

Praise for Gillian Cross and her novels:

‘Genuinely moving’ Times Educational Supplement
‘A winner’ Carousel
‘Taut and beautifully written’ Mail on Sunday
‘a tour de force’ Financial Times
‘Exciting, fast-moving and brilliant.’ Lancs County Library Children’s Book of the Year Reviews
‘Packed with tension and drama’ Books for Keeps
‘Outstanding’ The Scotsman
‘Believable, emotive, captivating, interesting and very enjoyable’ In Brief

A Q & A with Gillian Cross.

It's hard to say where my ideas come from. I usually get a picture of a place or a person. Sometimes I get a tiny little scene in my mind - very short, like the trailers you see on television. There's never very much of an idea to start with, just a little snippet and a very strong feeling that it can grow into a story. Then I ask myself lots of questions about the characters, and I find out what happens by starting to write the story down. I hardly ever know the whole story before I start writing the book.

Yes, I earn quite a good amount of money from writing, but I never know how much it's going to be. Every time someone buys one of my books, some of the money (around 7 per cent) goes to me. The publishers collect up all that money and pay it over to me twice a year. And in April, I add the whole lot up and find out how much I've earned that year.

The first book I ever wrote was called Such a Nice Girl - and it was terrible. But I learned two important things from writing it. The first was that I could get to the end of a book, and the second was that I liked writing books better than almost anything else. So I went on doing it and, in due course, I wrote The Runaway, which was my first published book.

No, I never base my characters on real people - not on purpose at least. If I did I would find it very hard to make anyone in my books do anything bad - in case the real person was cross about it. And anyway, it's much more fun to make people up. But sometimes, I find I've made a character a bit like a real person by mistake.

My main hobbies are playing the piano (very badly!) and orienteering, which involves finding your way round forests with a map, and running as hard as you can. I also like swimming and gardening, though I don't have much time for those. I read lots and lots, as well.

I haven't really got a favourite book - because I have so many. I always seem to be discovering wonderful new things to read. But one book which has always been among my favourites is 'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I haven't got a favourite out of my own books, I've had good fun writing all of them - but the best one is always the one I'm writing NOW.

I've got two main tips. First, tell the story as well as you can. If you get to the end and you can see things that are wrong - go back and put them right. There's no point in rewriting for the sake of it, but you're very lucky if you get everything right first time. I usually have to rewrite a book three or four times. 
The second tip is - have fun! If you don't have a good time while you're writing, how can you expect readers to enjoy themselves? (But that doesn't mean telling jokes all the time, of course. You can enjoy being sad or serious too.)

9. How long does it take you to write a book?
It usually takes me between five and nine months to write a book, depending on the length. In that time I rewrite it three or four times, and I've always spent quite a long time thinking about it before I start.

More books by this author

Loading similar books...

Other Formats

Book Info


288 pages


Gillian Cross
More books by Gillian Cross

Author's Website


Oxford University Press

Publication date

5th August 2010




I have told all my friends, family & teachers to see for themselves just how great the site is. Without fail, they are hugely impressed.

Alexander Boxall – age 11

You give me age appropriate ideas of books I can read and buy for the children and find out what other children their age think of them too.

Katie Lonsdale

We love Lovereading4kids because it promotes reading choices, new authors and a sense of community for children of all ages!

Rachel Bridgeman

We love Lovereading4kids because they put books in front of us we wouldn’t otherwise have read. They make us more adventurous readers!

Emily Jacques

I think Lovereading4kids is an amazing company because of the friendly staff and the fabulous chance to read great books before publication.

Adam Graham

Lovereading is just a convenient way to find new books and hear others opinions on them.

Sarah Murray – age 15

Love “Lovereading4kids” as my son gets to hear about & read new books before his mates which keeps him interested in reading=a very happy Mum

Liz Evans

A great way to introduce kids to great books, authors & genres. Parents can find age-appropriate books to share with their children.

Judi Davies – Aberdare Girls Sch

Lovereading 4 schools