Friday, January 15, 2010

children's book review: The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

The barest of beginning plot: The Magician's Elephant is the story of Peter Augustus Duchene, a ten-year-old orphan who chooses to spend food money to ask a fortune teller if his sister is alive. She tells him his sister is alive and an elephant will lead him to her, which is a message Peter does not understand, as he has never actually seen an elephant.

The lovely: This book is mostly lovely. It's a story that starts simply and adds richness, meaning and layers as it goes. It's accessible to young readers, and would make a wonderful read aloud book for younger readers, but it's still enjoyable for adult readers.  The setting is somewhere between reality and magic. The time is modern, old-fashioned and timeless. The details of space and time are vague, and some readers will likely envision different settings; it's a book that uses your imagination without you even realizing it. Yoko Tanaka's occasional drawings are beautiful.

Is it a contender for the Newbery Award? Absolutely. I'd love to see it on the medal list.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Pages: 208 pages
Publication date: September 2009
Source: my local public library, but you can also purchase it 

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1 comment:

  1. I LOVED this story. This author is just terrific.


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