Monday, January 22, 2007

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

DiCamillo, Kate. 2006. THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE. Ill. by Bagram Ibatoulline. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. ISBN 0763625892 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-8]

Edward is an exquisite rabbit made of china. He is owned by Abilene, a child who loves him immensely and considers him a family member. But Edward does not love Abilene. He loves no one for he is too arrogant to love. One day while on a vacation cruise with Abilene, two malicious boys throw Edward overboard. That is when Edward’s journey truly begins. After lying at the bottom of the sea for 297 days, Edward is rescued by a fisherman. It is while living with the fisherman and his wife that Edward’s cold heart begins to thaw. Over the years, Edward’s journey takes him to living with a hobo and his dog and then with a boy and his dying younger sister. With each new experience Edward’s heart opens up until he does learn to love. However, with love comes pain for Edward learns that hearts, like the delicate china he is made of, can be broken. At the end of the story we find Edward unwilling to love again until he is “rescued” one last time.

Master storyteller Kate DiCamillo has written a moving story of love, loss, and redemption. Ibatoulline’s realistic gouache paintings in warm tones adorn the cream-colored pages. This is quite a beautifully designed book.

Encourage readers to brainstorm and discuss how this story might have been written differently if the premise of the story were reversed. What if Edward had been a rabbit who loved Abilene, but she did not love him back? What kind of journey might he have taken then?

Other books for children about toys with human traits:
Williams, Margery. THE VELVETEEN RABBIT. ISBN 1591977576
Field, Rachel. HITTY, HER FIRST HUNDRED YEARS. ISBN 0027348407

By S. Zulema Silva Bewley

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