On Our Bookshelves – The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

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NOVEL: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

AUTHOR: Kate DiCamillo

YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2006

REVIEW:

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More coronavirus reading!  My younger daughter’s entire elementary school was in the midst of reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane together when the schools were abruptly shut down.  Fortunately, we had the book at home, and so we continued the planned schedule.  The older kids read it themselves, but my girl’s only in kindergarten, so I had to read it to her.  Having read Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Despereaux, I didn’t mind taking this project on.

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She loved it.  I will not claim that my daughter understood every part of the book; there are some cultural references and some implications that went over her head.  Normally, when that happens, I slow down the pace and explain unfamiliar vocabulary, but for this story, it wasn’t the words nearly as much as the concepts that were difficult.  (This isn’t a reason to avoid it–wrestling with concepts a bit beyond us, at any age, is essential for growth, I think.)

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A fable for young and old about a lost soul finding redemption, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane concerns a toy rabbit, the titular Edward:  made of china, expensive and delicate, and beloved by a young girl, Abilene.  Edward, however, doesn’t love her, or think of anyone except himself. Not everyone is going to take to a morality tale about a sentient toy–but for those of us who love The Velveteen Rabbit, or Winnie the Pooh, or the Toy Story movies, or Calvin and Hobbes, this is a valuable addition to the genre.  Edward does have his adventures once he loses Abilene, and meets people who love him and treat him kindly, and those who don’t, experiences loss and despair and joy and love, and eventually learns what is important. He’s given advice by an old doll he meets at one point in the story: “If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless.”  And that’s a good lesson for anyone, in childhood or beyond, to hear. 

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RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): 4 Whistles

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HOW TO PURCHASE: Amazon

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Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com

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Lead-In Image (Book Cover/Audio Book Cover) Courtesy of Penguin Random House; Illustration by Bagram Ibatoulline

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