Trompet and Trombone by Ali Foster
Is it true that elephants never forget? What happens if they do? Trompet and Trombone is a sweet story about a special relationship between a wise old matriarch elephant and her great-granddaughter.
The story opens with the birth of Trompet the baby elephant on African dawn, and discusses her grandmother Trombone. Trombone can recall the names of every ancestor, right back to the time of the mammoth.
The pair forge a strong relationship, with Trombone passing on of family history and traditions to the young calf.
But Trombone’s memory begins to slip and it is up to the younger elephant to lead the way.
Author Ali Foster uses rich descriptive language to tell the story. She doesn’t shy away or dull down the story – introducing younger readers to words like migration, veldt, and ferocious.
Illustrator Martin Bailey uses deceptively simple pictures to convey the story. His drawings seem uncluttered, but are rich in detail. Both Trompet and Trombone are full of character and personality.
Foster has played into the saying ‘an elephant never forgets’ in a clever way, turning that adage on its head.
As a grandchild of someone who does have dementia, the story hit me quite hard. Both Foster’s words and Bailey’s illustration of Trompet as she admits she can’t remember things was quite heart-breaking. It might seem weird to feel empathy for a fictional elephant, but the story is relatable and realistic.
This makes it a real sweet, simple story to share with children who may be facing a similar situation in their lives. It subtly yet strongly addresses the issue. It also highlights the importance of learning from our older generations. At the end of the book, little Trombone steps up and leads the elephants, empowering herself and showing her strength.
Trompet and Trombone is sweet story about traditions, intergenerational relationships, and most of all, about kindness and empathy.
Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser
Duck Creek Press, RRP $19.99