Whistling for the Elephants is the first adult novel by Danish/British comedian, author, and TV presenter, Sandi Toksvig. In 1968, 10-year-old Dorothy Kane finds herself on a slightly bizarre ship journey from Southampton to New York with a mother who has made no effort to rear her children. Once in New York, her stiff English father takes his wife and daughter 50 miles upstate to the small town of Sassaspaneck on the Amherst River. Before long, Dorothy finds herself labelled a freak by the neighbourhood children and exposed to all the craziness of American life in the late sixties. Boating, hard-drinking, fire-fighting, BBQing and illegitimate mixed race babies all form part of life. Dorothy discovers the local zoo with its exotic inhabitants, both animal and human, and the fantastic house built there in the 1920s. To her delight, she acquires a nickname (Sugar) and through the reminiscences of various locals, she learns of the excesses and the tragic events of the original zoo owner and those close to him. Toksvig builds this tale to a climax that involves a confrontation between, on one side, the mayor, the dog catcher, the town football team and the fire-fighters, and on the other, six strong-willed women, a resourceful 10-year-old girl, a gander, an orangutan, two elephants and a grey parrot. Moving and funny.