One growing elephant... One smallish lifeboat... One BIG dream...

From the award-winning author-illustrator Ed Vere comes a lyrical tale celebrating bravery and quiet determination.

I'd like to introduce you to my swashbuckling new picture book...

A few years ago, I spent a winter in Cornwall, battered by gales and driving rain, with occasional glimpses of dazzling sun glittering across the sea. The echoes of older times, fishing villages, wooden boats and the strong sense of community felt like the perfect setting for a picture book. But who would be my hero?

One afternoon I was painting a small fishing village from a cliff top (somewhere between Falmouth and Mousehole). As I finished up, I spied the mysteriously large figure of an elephant walking to the harbour. Dressed in his sailor’s smock, he settled, somewhat creakingly, onto a small stool and watched the world go by. I walked down to speak with him. He was friendly and his name was Gabriel. He told me the story of his life. That story became this book. The first picture in the book is the painting I painted on top of that cliff. 

As a young elephant, Gabriel dreamt of being one of the heroic lifeboat crew. But, as elephants are prone to do, he grew too large to fit in the boat. Horror. 

                                                                       How would he make his dream come true? 

You’ll have to read the story to find out if and how he does… Suffice to say, it’s a story about not giving up your dreams despite the setbacks you may meet on the way. It’s a story about bravery and quiet, humble determination. Most importantly, it’s about believing in yourself. 

I hope you’ll love meeting Gabriel as much as I did. 


Kirkus starred review

A charming winner about purpose, bravery, and making one’s dreams come true.

Dedication and determination are everything.

By turns thrilling and warmly reassuring, this story demonstrates that resolve—and inclusion—wins out; readers will cheer for Gabriel all the way. Sailing through the narrative are vigorous shanties readers might well join in on. 

Vere brings the Cornish setting to life beautifully. Gabriel cuts an endearing figure in the lively illustrations.

Publishers Weekly (starred)

...affectionately swashbuckling...

...only joy lingers as the elephant finds a way to do what he loves, and comes away with marvelous stories to tell.

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