Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

200 pages
Published 2006, First Edition
Candlewick Press
Cambridge Massachusetts

I'm trying to remember when I first discovered The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I think it must have been shortly after the book was published in 2006 and I think I saw it on a shelf at B&N. At any rate I remember the cover art distinctly as it interested me and the plot summary printed inside was very intriguing... And yet, for some reason I tucked the book away as a "I'll check this out another time." And then I promptly forgot all about it.

I was reminded of it when I picked up The Tale of Despereaux last year, but once again I filed it away to read at a later date.

And then... As "chance" would have it one day during story time I looked up at the bookshelf above where my daughter and I were sitting cross-legged on the floor and there it was: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. I remembered how much I had enjoyed The Tale of Despereaux, so I had high hopes for Edward Tulane when I got it home and began reading. I was not disappointed.

The Plot:
"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." (Summary courtesy of the publisher)

My Thoughts:
I just loved this book. Perhaps I'm a softy when it comes to anything rabbits. As a child I had several pet rabbits, a rabbit puppet and some stuffed animal rabbits. But I had nothing like Edward Tulane.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is such a touchingly beautiful tale of love, friendship, sacrifice, and humility. Kate DiCamillo has received numerous awards for her children's novels and from what I've read I believe they are well deserved. DiCamillo is a gifted storyteller. As with The Tale of Despereaux I found Edward Tulane a creative and unique story. It was fun to read and had beautifully corresponding illustrations. It taught morals without being preachy or passe. It was charming and cute and yet also addressed some darker aspects of life in a delicate manner that made the book an appropriate read-aloud even for young children. I find that there's something about DiCamillo's storytelling that make the stories seem to have come from the early part of the last century -- and yet, they don't feel old or out of date. There's something almost magical about this book. It's certainly not Watership Down, but then it's not exactly The Velveteen Rabbit either. It's a fantsy with charm and it's a delightful read.

One thing is for certain, this book is going on my "Wish List" and I am adding it to the ever growing list of books I want to read aloud to my daughter. If you have not given this or any of DiCamillo's books a chance I'd highly recommend you begin with The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Of course it might also be fun to read The Tale of Despereaux, especially considering there's an animated adaptation available to watch after reading the story, but that... is for another review, which can be read here.

DiCamillo has three other children's novels I have yet to read, but having enjoyed these two so immensely I am adding the others to my TBR list and hope to get to read them within the next year.


Girl Detective said...

Many book bloggers disliked Edward Tulane because it was so dark. I thought it a beautiful allegory of redemtion and rebirth.

My favorite of Kate's books is The Tiger Rising.

hopeinbrazil said...

Our family loved Tale of Desperaux so maybe my expectations were too high for Miraculous Journey. I didn't get very far in the book. I'll have to give it another try.

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

You review is prompting me to finally add this one to my TBR list.

My favorite DiCamillo story is Tiger Rising, also. I used to read it to the entire 5th grade at the elementary school where I was librarian.

Faith said...

I LOVE Kate DiCamillo! I've adored everything by her that I've read, including Edward Tulane (and Desperaux, or course).

Raji P. said...

I'd like to recommend the audio book of this wonderful story - it is so beautiful, you will get drawn into it, whether you want to or not (esp those who did not get hooked the first time). We have listened to the audio book over and over, and each time we learn more and understand more about Edward and Pellegrina, and of love.