Kate DiCamillo Review: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Kate DiCamillo Review

In the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane we are presented with a story of an elegant china doll rabbit, Edward, who is loved greatly by his owner, a young girl named Abeline.

Edward's world is one of privilege. He has an extensive wardrobe of hand made suits that Abeline dresses him in. He wants for nothing. Consequently, he is a vain, hard-hearted creature, often detached from the world he lives in.

On an ocean voyage, Edward is thrown overboard by cruel children into the deep sea, where he quickly sinks to the bottom.

Edward's journey begins when he is washed up during a savage storm and is found by an old fisherman, who takes Edward home as a gift for his wife.

This Kate DiCamillo Review wouldn't be complete without a description of the illustrations. The colour and sepia tone pictures by Bagram Ibatoulline enhance the text and add an extra layer of meaning to the story.

Edward's odyssey places him in the care of several engaging and memorable characters: a gentle hobo with a dog, a young boy who rescues Edward from his unfortunate role as a scarecrow, and perhaps most heart-breaking, a very sick child who holds Edward with a fierce desperation.

Along the way Edward's heart unthaws. He learns to love and has his heart broken, along with his head at one point. In an important passage a wise and battered old doll tells Edward that he needs to open his heart before he can truly be loved by others.

This is an impressive book. And there were passages at times that raised goosebumps on my arms. Edward Tulane is a reasonably short chapter book and can be read in an evening. I read it in full over the course of a short train journey.

Kate DiCamillo is a fine writer. Her language seems simple, but like the ocean that Edward falls into, is very deep in meaning. I've spent many an hour exploring the text with students to demonstrate how well skilled writers use basic writing building blocks, such as syntax and grammar.

Here is an excerpt from Edward Tulane:
'Of all the seasons of the year the rabbit most preferred winter, for the sun set early then and the windows became dark and Edward could see his own reflection in the glass. And what a reflection it was! Edward never ceased to be amazed at his own fineness!'

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a beautifully written and illustrated children's book, that doubles as a very effective language teaching tool. Highly recommended.

Return from Kate DiCamillo Review to 6th Grade Books

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