We Are the Elephants

A Fable of Our Plight

Fiction - Animals
52 Pages
Reviewed on 12/04/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Dia Virginia Rigden is an Alchemist who has been on a path of spiritual transformation for over 20 years.

In her rich life experience, she has 3 lifetimes: a Ph.D. in English; 10 years writing executive and political speeches; corporate consulting as an executive coach.

Now retired, Dia writes fiction, poetry, songs, and a daily journal. A classically-trained singer, her debut album is in progress.

Over the last six years, she has learned to paint and now illustrates her writing under the patient, generous guidance of an Inner Mentor.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

We Are the Elephants: A Fable of Our Plight: The Bennu Books, Book One is a literary fiction novella written and illustrated by Dia Virginia Rigden. Bennu lived quite happily with his mother, Ruth, and the rest of his herd until, one day, he wandered off a bit from the rest of the herd and was tranquilized and carted off. Ruth was heartbroken by her son's disappearance and the elephants cried out their sorrow and anger at the horrid thing that had happened. Ruth communicates with Bennu in the way of the elephants to let him know she is always there for him, no matter where he is. Bennu has been purchased by Wade, who trains his elephants to perform tricks in circus rings. Disobedience is harshly dealt with, and Bennu cannot understand what has happened to him and why those people come to watch him. His misery is eased somewhat by a tiny white mouse named Timmy and Isaiah, an old and blind elephant, who had spent his lifetime in the circus.

Dia Virginia Rigden's literary fiction novella, We Are the Elephants: A Fable of Our Plight: The Bennu Books, Book One, is a stunningly beautiful and poignant tale about the coming of age of a young elephant who had been wrested from his home and put on display in a circus ring. Rigden's prose is lyrical and haunting as she interprets the messages of Gaia and the elephants for her readers. Her illustrations are superb acrylic-on-canvas paintings which do a marvelous job of capturing the progression of the story and bringing it to life. I was literally transfixed by the plot, the words and images comprising it, and those amazing illustrations. We Are the Elephants is unforgettable and utterly lovely. It's most highly recommended. Wow!

K.C. Finn

We Are the Elephants: A Fable of Our Plight is a short children’s read by author Dia Virginia Rigden, and the first book in the Bennu Books series. The story centers on Bennu, a young elephant with a naïve sort of charm. Little Bennu interacts with humans of many varieties, suffering abuse from some whilst wondering at others. It is only when he meets Isaiah, a circus elephant with failing sight, that Bennu can have his questions answered and learn a unique viewpoint on the world. Held in captivity and dreaming of a world beyond, this bittersweet tale culminates with a strong moral message that will hit home with adults as much as with child readers.

Dia Virginia Rigden’s ‘elephant beings’ are exactly that – wise and sentient creatures that spring to life from the pages of this delightful little read. Elegant and descriptive writing takes the reader through Bennu’s joyous and tragic times with a consistent flow and language which should not pose too much trouble to younger readers enjoying the tale with a parent. The dialogue and dialect of the characters show great personality and would sound wonderful read aloud, and there are plenty of action filled moments and sound effects which will envelop the target audience. Alongside this, there is a hugely important moral to the tale, wherein humanity is scrutinised for its treatment of nature, told from the perspective of its victims. Overall, I would highly recommend We Are the Elephants: A Fable of Our Plight as an enlightening read for animal fans.

Mamta Madhavan

We Are the Elephants: A Fable of Our Plight by Dia Virginia Rigden is a cute little storybook narrated from the perspective of two elephants, Bennu and Isaiah. The latter is an old circus elephant and gives Bennu valuable tips on life and living. Bennu's life and his attitude towards handling life and his problems are indeed good lessons for readers to learn to forgive and understand that we have to take responsibility for making changes in our lives so that the world around us will also change. The dialogues of Bennu and Isaiah are uplifting, profound and thought-provoking.

Bennu's feelings after being separated from his mother Ruth and grandmother Naomi are palpable and his abusive trainer Wade opens his eyes to an entirely new world. All the characters in the book are memorable and real. The pictures complement the story beautifully and bring the characters and scenes to life. The message the book conveys is useful to everyone and the author's way of making readers understand it through the story of Bennu and Isaiah is very clever. The author also covers the topic of killing of elephants for their tusks, thereby killing the future of the entire planet, through the story.

The book calls out to human beings, asking them to evolve and get rid of their greed and self-destruction before they end up destroying the earth and humanity. The book is perfect to teach children to respect all living beings and become responsible citizens to create a better world around them. A story for both adults and children that is uplifting, profound and inspirational. It teaches them to respect humanity. Beautiful cover design and illustrations.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Bennu is a young elephant. He starts his life in the wild, protected by his family of elephants, particularly his mother. As Bennu matures, he becomes more adventurous and that's how he ends up being captured, taken away from his home and his family, and indoctrinated into the life of a circus, far, far away. Bennu is sad. He challenges all that has happened and is happening to him and, as he addresses each of his concerns, he becomes angry, even vengeful. Bennu is an example of all that any of us are and can become. He feels, he listens, he learns, and he expresses himself, sometimes with great anger. And, when he's angry, he doesn't even like himself. Bennu learns some very valuable lessons, most importantly, the lesson of forgiveness.

Most of us have gone to the circus. We admire the wild animals trained to do tricks. The elephants especially capture our fascination. But how many of us wonder or even care about where these elephants came from, how they became part of the circus and if they are well treated. The subtitle of Dia Virginia Rigden's We Are the Elephants is A Fable of Our Plight. Very true. We all need to learn from Bennu, not just how we conduct ourselves in our own world, but also how we treat others, particularly the wildlife around us. There is a powerful lesson being taught here, something for all ages. Very well presented.

Faridah Nassozi

In We Are The Elephants - A Fable Of Our Plight by Dia Virginia Rigden, separated from his family, Bennu was forced into a life filled with misery and suffering. In the hands of wicked humans, he became a mere object of entertainment used for man's selfish gain. After being kidnapped from his home in Africa, his life became a living hell as every day he was subjected to cruelty by his new owner. While his family mourned, Bennu struggled to understand why humans were cruel to animals and how love of money brought out the worst in man. Follow the story of this amazing baby elephant as he fights his mental and physical battles in an attempt to understand the mean actions of humankind and to survive in the hell that had become his new home.

We Are The Elephants - A Fable Of Our Plight by Dia Virginia Rigden is a deeply emotional story that will touch the hearts of all its readers, irrespective of age, and hopefully be the beginning of much needed change. The author did a fantastic job both writing and illustrating this story. Through moving words and dramatic illustrations, Dia Virginia Rigden brought the plight of abused elephants and all other endangered species to life and right into our hearts. We Are The Elephants is an excellent way to bring more awareness of the imminent extinction of some of the world's most amazing species due to mankind's greedy actions. We can all be more humane towards animals and there is a lot each of us can do to support the efforts of organisations that work to save endangered species.