The Magician’s Elephant

Kate DiCamillo, Yoko Tanaka

The Magician's Elephant
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The Magician’s Elephant

Kate DiCamillo, Yoko Tanaka

Kate DiCamillo conjures a haunting fable about trusting the unexpected and making the extraordinary come true. What if? Why not? Could it be? When a fortuneteller’s tent appears in the market square of the city of Baltese, orphan Peter Augustus Duchene knows the questions that he needs to ask: Does his sister still live? And if so, how can he find her? The fortuneteller’s mysterious answer (an elephant! An elephant will lead him there!) sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that you will hardly dare to believe it’s true. With atmospheric illustrations by fine artist Yoko Tanaka, here is a dreamlike and captivating tale that could only be narrated by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo. In this timeless fable, she evokes the largest of themes - hope and belonging, desire and compassion - with the lightness of a magician’s touch.

Review

Peter Augustus Duchene made a promise to his dying mother to look after his baby sister, a promise he has been unable to keep. He is an honourable boy and despite years passing he still yearns for his sister. From a chance meeting with a fortune teller he finds a flicker of hope, no matter how absurd an idea this hope is based on. The poignancy of Peter’s quest and his underlying goodness and empathy encourage the people he meets to dare to believe in miracles and accompany him on this crazy journey.

As with all DiCamillo’s stories the themes are hope, belief, loyalty, compassion, steadfastness and forgiveness. What more can you want in a children’s book? For ages seven and up.

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