Douglas Willis' book, "An Elephant in the Lobby," is bigger than the title and rates more than five stars. The back blurb on the cover calls it a "colorful recollection of a boyhood spent in a rural community in North-east Scotland." It is perfect for its genre, a poignant painting of post-war life that includes such delightful chapters as "Potted heid and hairy tatties," and "Forkietails (earwigs) and futrats" (stoats). Part of the story is written in Doric, easy to read both from the context and by Willis' added explanations. "An Elephant in the Lobby" is magical, written about a magical time in the not-too-distant past when life was intense, passionate, hard and valued. With the coalman's horse trained to its route and circus elephants paying unexpected visits to homes, children were fully engaged in life and entertained even though there were no computers, TVs or video games - and no "Health and Safety" regulations to rush in and steal childhood pleasures. Older folks were too busy to be depressed; too hard at work to fear death. Life was cold, cruel and brutally hard at times - and yet - it was also sweet, simple and full. "An Elephant in the Lobby" is a skillfully written oxymoron that lives and breathes and sparks with fire; a book like so few others where each word is an integral organ that keeps the words alive and flowing.