June 21, 2010

The Magician’s Elephant by Kate Dicamillo

The Magician’s Elephant by Kate Dicamillo is a children’s book. However, it is not just enjoyed by children. It is a book that really should be read aloud, which is often done for children anyways. This is one of those books that the adult reading to the child would probably stay up long past the child has fallen asleep to find out what happens to young Peter and his sister Adele, and of course, the elephant.

Book Description
“What if? Why not? Could it be?

When a fortuneteller's tent appears in the market square of the city of Baltese, orphan Peter Augustus Duchene knows the questions that he needs to ask: Does his sister still live? And if so, how can he find her? The fortuneteller's mysterious answer (an elephant! An elephant will lead him there!) sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that you will hardly dare to believe it’s true. With atmospheric illustrations by fine artist Yoko Tanaka, here is a dreamlike and captivating tale that could only be narrated by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo. In this timeless fable, she evokes the largest of themes -- hope and belonging, desire and compassion -- with the lightness of a magician’s touch.

In a highly awaited new novel, Kate DiCamillo conjures a haunting fable about trusting the unexpected -- and making the extraordinary come true.”
The Magician’s Elephant

My Thoughts
When the impossible is possible, yet quite impossible, it makes for a great book. Children’s stories are quite underrated sometimes, at least in stories like this.

The characters in The Magician’s Elephant are quite haunting. Peter is being raised by a seemingly terrible man who told him his sister Adele had died and he only feeds him enough to stay alive. The elephant that is impossible becomes possible, and leads many characters together in such a way that is very magical.

After reading the book, the reader is left with a sense of magic for the characters and wonder for what could be possible in their very own lives. Fantastic book.

I don’t think very many children will get the large importance of what happens in the book, but the adults reading them the story definitely will – and perhaps one day when they re-read it, they will too. It is a great story to be shared and read aloud.

The Magician’s Elephant has also won many awards including: Amazon.com Best Books of the Year, Booklist Editor’s Choice, Minnesota Book Award, Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Books, Borders Best Kids Books of the Year, Hudson Booksellers Best Books of 2009, Nick Jr. Family Magazine Best Books of the Year, Bank Street College Mock Newbery Title.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Magician’s Elephant, Candlewick Press for providing me with a copy for review. All opinions expressed are my own.


T said...

I was less than two paragraphs into your review when I decided I MUST read this... logging onto the library website now :)

Sheri said...

That is awesome T! I am glad I could help direct you to a fantastic book. I hope you enjoy it too.