Soon cover

The read-aloud story of Raju the baby elephant and his mummy who set out on a great jungle adventure. Raju follows his mother, holding tightly onto her tail, as they bravely journey across a wide river, battle the tall grass and delve into the deep, dark forest ... meeting snapping crocodiles, slithering snakes and ferocious tigers along the way. But where are Raju and his mummy going? What will they see in the end? Little tired Raju keeps asking, "When can we go home again?" and, each time, his mummy replies, “Soon”. This lyrical story transports readers to the lush, wild Indian jungle and exquisitely captures the fear and excitement of new experience.  With wonderful illustrations by the legendary Patrick Benson, illustrator of Owl Babies and many other modern classics.

Walker, May 2015
Age range: 

The Times Children's Book of the Week

"this beautiful picture book... stunning illustrations"

"Patrick Benson’s superb illustrations bring to life this touching adventure for a baby elephant. Early one morning the little elephant Raju sets off with his mother. On their way ,they see off a snappy crocodile and then both a slithering snake and a prowling tiger Raju gets tired and longs to be going home.  But Raju’s mummy has a plan… When Raju sees what it is he knows it was all worth while!' Julia Eccleshare, Pick of the Month, May 2015

"Knapman's finely structured tale has rhythmic pacing just right for reading aloud, while the deftly rendered pictures enhance the overall warmth of this gentle tale. A mother-child journey readers will want to share again, soon.'" Kirkus Reviews

"Baby elephant Raju follows his mother on a grand adventure, beginning in the dark of the morning and continuing through areas of great danger. Each turn of the page brings him to a new experience with unseen perils: traversing the river where crocodiles await, an Indian forest where a great snake lives above in trees, and the “tall grass where the tiger prowls.” At each stop, mother elephant frightens away danger and continues on, patiently answering her little one’s queries about returning home with a single word—“Soon.” The bond between the two is evidenced in each step and stop, as Raju’s long adventure builds to a mountainous climb and culminates with a panoramic view of his world, before returning home. Finely detailed, water-washed images of the Indian countryside emphasize the nervous excitement of new experiences and love between parent and child. VERDICT A thoughtful presentation of a youngster’s ever-expanding world.'" School Library Journal (US)

"Patrick Benson’s soft, expressive illustrations in “Soon” harmonize with Timothy Knapman’s reassuring story of a mother elephant and her son who, early one morning, “set out on a great adventure.” Immediately, like many a homebody child, little Raju asks: “When can we go home again?” He asks it again after the pair encounters crocodiles, and again after they meet snakes and a tiger. Each time, the mother scares away the threatening creatures, deepening the young reader’s sense of trust, until at last the animals reach their destination. From a mountaintop at sunset, all [India] seems spread beneath them. Back at home after dark, the exhausted Raju asks: “When can we do it all again?” Wall Street Journal"

"Beautiful illustrations in a naturalistic style perfectly complement this story about discovery, patience, and love." Midwest Book Review

"Expressing the simultaneous longings for safe, familiar surroundings in one direction and new adventures in the other, this quiet picture book will speak to many young children." Booklist