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Travels With Tarra

door Carol Buckley

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The author tells the story of the baby elephant she raised, adopted, toured with in zoos and circuses, and for which she eventually created a sanctuary.


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See my Q&A including updates with Carol Buckley and learn more about Tarra at

Carol Buckley is the founder of the Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee. In this book she talks about Tarra, the Asian elephant who was brought to America in 1974. Tarra was purchased to live at a tire store and the owner specifically purchased her in hope of increased sales. It was sad reading just the first page of this book because you start to realize the horror of a baby elephant being torn away from its mother in the wild and the loss of security that Tarra will now experience.

The story takes us through Tarra’s journey and how Carol Buckley meets her for the very first time. She instantly had an interest in Tarra and became a permanent fixture in Tarra’s cage. Carol began studying her and wanted to know everything about her. Children will learn about how Tarra learned how to skate, how Carol begins training her, and how she becomes part of the circus making her famous. Readers will also learn about Tarra’s relationships that she had with other elephants and dogs before her arrival at the Elephant Sanctuary.

The photography in this book is amazing and insightful. I learned so much more about Tarra that I never knew before. She had many experiences and relationships in her life. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love for elephants or just want to know more about Tarra.

This book does have a series of links and information for classroom use.

5***** ( )
  Mischenko | Nov 30, 2017 |
Gr. 3-5. Here's a personal account by a woman who fell in love with a baby elephant and spent 28 years training and caring for it. Buckley was a college student studying exotic animal care when she bought the baby Burmese elephant from a man who had paid to bring the animal to the U.S. to serve as a mascot for his tire company. Tarra eventually gained fame as the world's only roller-skating elephant, appearing on talk shows and in circuses. As Tarra aged, Buckley tried to find a safe haven for her, finally establishing The Elephant Sanctuary, an 800-acre refuge in Tennessee. Tarra's story is heightened by the attractive design of the book; silver-tone pages make attractive backgrounds for the text, and metallic accents border the artful black-and-white photos. The rather sentimental account may pique readers' interest in elephants and in the Sanctuary that Tarra inspired, especially if readers have seen the TV documentary. A short resource list cites five Web sites, a video, and a classroom guide on the Sanctuary
  jhawn | Jul 31, 2017 |
I'm generally not in favor of the use of animal acts in circuses (well really, I'm not in favor of it at all), but having fallen in love with Tarra the elephant, in Carol Buckley's recent Tarra & Bella - which details the friendship of retired pachyderm performer Tarra, and a stray dog named Bella - I was curious to learn more about the younger days of this massive charmer. When I saw that Buckley has published an earlier book about Tarra's days as an entertainer, and that said book was a Tilbury House title (one of my current obsessions), I had to read it!

I'm not sorry I did. Travels With Tarra details how Buckley got involved in caring for Tarra, when she was a very young elephant, recently purchased by a tire dealer as part of a promotional campaign. Eventually buying Tarra outright, Buckley trained her as an entertainer, teaching her how to do numerous tricks (like roller-skating), and traveling all over the world with her. For those with an interest in the movies, Tarra was the elephant used in the parade scene, at the end of Annie.

It's clear that Buckley loved (and loves) Tarra, took excellent care of her (both physically and spiritually), and provided for her retirement, by founding the The Elephant Sanctuary for her, in Tennessee. I think young elephant lovers will enjoy this tale, profusely illustrated with photographs of Tarra and Buckley in their years together. Parents or other adults who, like me, have reservations about using animals in circuses, can explain their position, but also highlight the importance of Tarra's humane treatment (and the fact that Asian elephants have been a "workforce" for many, many centuries), and her happy retirement. ( )
1 stem AbigailAdams26 | Apr 26, 2013 |
This book tells the nonfiction story of how elephant Tarra and her trainer Carol became friends and built an amazing elephant sanctuary in Tennessee. It’s for independent readers, but would also work very well as a read aloud for younger students.For the complete review with an extensive teaching lesson plan and resources visit Reading Rumpus, a children's literature & reading education website. ( )
  Tasses | Sep 1, 2009 |
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The author tells the story of the baby elephant she raised, adopted, toured with in zoos and circuses, and for which she eventually created a sanctuary.

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