Friday, June 15, 2012

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo

Title:  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Author:  Kate DiCamillo
Publisher:  Candlewick Press
Year:  2006
Pages:  200
Genre:  Fantasy
Themes:  Love, Friendship
Age Ranges:  3rd-5th Grade

Summary:  from Goodreads
"Someone will come for you, but first you must open your heart. . . ."

Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely. 

And then, one day, he was lost. 

Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a little jewel of a book.  The setting, the language, and the art are all a throwback to an earlier time, a time of steamships and trains, a time when men rode the rails and children were hungry, a time when toys were made of china and fur and silk and metal, not out of plastic.  The book is completely charming, and quirky in the way that a lot of DiCamillo's work is.  The mood of the book reminds me quite a bit of The Magician's Elephant-there is a sense that something magical and amazing is working just under the surface of everything, from the mundane to the miraculous.  The message of the story, that you can learn to love despite having lost, is a rather mature lesson to learn, but one that is presented in such a way that students can easily understand.  And while we don't like to acknowledge it, many of our students have already dealt or are dealing with loss or a lack of love in their lives, and the book's hopeful message is one that all of us need reminding of when we lose someone we love.

Teacher Resources:

eNotes Lesson Plans
Candlewick Press Teacher's Guide

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