The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline
|The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The story of the china rabbit who learns to love and trust again is destined to become a classic. The writing is lyrical and witty. The artwork is superb. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 228||Date: June 2008|
Edward Tulane is a china rabbit who lives in a house on Egypt Street and he lives rather well. He has silk clothes, his own bed, eats with the family and has the love and adoration of Abilene Tulane. It was, he felt, no less than he deserved. He even had his own watch so that he could tell exactly when Abilene was due to return from school. When she was eleven Abilene and her family went on a trip to London aboard the Queen Mary and Edward accompanied them. This was when disaster struck.
Suddenly Edward Tulane wasn't quite so pleased with himself as he was thrown overboard in the course of a game played by some rowdy boys and he sank through the dark, cold water. He stayed on the sea bed for a long time until a storm disturbed his resting pace and he found himself in a fisherman's net. Over the following years Edward would be owned by many people, treated with more or less consideration, called many names and used for many purposes. Perhaps his shining hour was the comfort he gave to a dying girl.
The story put me in mind of Black Beauty and Michael Morpurgo's recent reworking of the story. Traditionally this type of story is told from the point of view of an animal but DiCamillo makes elegant use of the china rabbit as Edward loves, loses and gradually learns to trust and love again. You see, in the beginning, Edward is not particularly likeable and whilst you feel for Abilene when he goes overboard it's difficult not feel that he's got his comeuppance.
This book is a delight to read aloud, with its simple, direct language and short chapters of an ideal length for bedtime reading. It's surprisingly enjoyable for an adult too as you wonder quite what will happen to Edward next. There's Kate DiCamillo's trademark gentle wit which appeals to both adults and children and a series of characters that you really get to know despite the fact that few stay in the story for very long.
The partnership of Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline has proved its worth before. In Great Joy we saw his skill at portraiture but in Edward Tulane the illustrations are in black and white but they're no less stunning. There's a picture of a dog attacking Edward but there's no attempt to show Edward as looking frightened – he is but a china doll after all – but the mutinous expression on the dog's face as he's instructed to Drop it! is caught in that moment when it wonders whether to obey or disobey. It's wonderful. The illustrations catch the period feel without ever becoming sentimental.
It's a book which could well become a classic and I can see it being read again and again.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
Slightly younger children will love The Velveteen Rabbit by Marjery Williams but the animal-loving confident reader will enjoy Born To Run by Michael Morpurgo. For slightly older children we recommend The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline at Amazon.com.
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