Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo's books are pure magic. They are usually written for juveniles and young adults, but I think adults are really missing out if they don't read her stuff. One Amazon reviewer said about this book "her writing is getting even better and with this story I think we may be seeing the beginning of a transcendence to the creation of a storyteller easily in league with Aesop, the Brothers Grimm and Frank L. Baum. I am aware that sounds sycophantic - trust me I am not. In fact, I would really like to hate her for writing so well, as an aspiring writer myself, but there is no denying the quality of this story." And I think that sums up quite nicely how I too feel about DiCamillo's writing. She is a master storyteller.

Peter Augustus Duchene, a ten year old boy, goes to the market for fish and bread but spends the money with a fortuneteller instead. When he asks the fortuneteller about his long lost sister, he is given a cryptic message: "follow the elephant...she will lead you there."

What follows is a fanciful fable with rich language and brilliant imagery. It's about loss, hope, love and home. It's somber and atmospheric and sweet and allegorical. It's the kind of book that just begs to be read aloud and I could easily picture this one becoming a favorite for family night reading in many homes around the country, especially on a cold snowy night in front of the fire.

I really hope adults will pick this book up and read it. It is a treat, and if you weren't a fan of hers already, you will become one.
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