Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Magician's Elephant (Laura)

Kate DiCamillo's The Magician's Elephant tells a story of hope, love, and magic in the midst of darkness and is a reminder to believe in dreams. A boy named Peter hears from a fortuneteller that the sister he believed to be dead is, in fact, alive and that an elephant will lead Peter to her. At first he doesn't believe, until a chain of unlikely events begins to take place. Only Peter's brave and true heart can tie the pieces and characters together to make the impossible real.

This book combines my favorite elements of family reunited, new family joined, and characters that make me want to stay with them until they come out the other side of the tunnel. In the world DiCamillo created, everyone matters and is connected. A magician out to prove himself, a policeman who believes people can change the world by questioning it, a stonecutter who can no longer carve, an orphan longing for someone to come from her. A beggar who sings good news, and his blind dog who delivers messages with all of his heart. A homesick elephant. And the brokenhearted boy who recognizes her and can't help but fight his despair to instead hope the dangerous hope that, somewhere, there is magic to send her home.

DiCamillo brings the world of Baltese to life in tiny flicks of language and images, with lamplighters and gargoyles, cathedral clocks and opera houses, fishmongers and fortunetellers. Throw in touching artwork by Yoko Tanaka; memorable names like Apartments Polonaise, Leo Matienne, and Madam Bettine LaVaughn; and language that gently exposes hidden aches from the heart to stretch them across a beautiful, dreary world where dreams come true, love endures, and stars and planets shine through the darkness. All in a puzzle of unique and interconnected characters who, despite the odds of reality against them, decide to believe.

What is it about books with magic that reaches inside of us to the places we didn't see before, helps us relate, and makes us want to believe? Do you think magic is real, that impossible things come true?


The Magician's Elephant:


  1. This sounds like a good book! Your review was very poetic. Thanks for posting!

  2. Thank you, Hannah! It is a beautiful book.

  3. Beautiful review, Laura! I think fantasy books capture readers' imaginations in ways that books set in reality just can't. Magic adds so many possibilities, which intensifies the desire to keep reading because anything can happen!

  4. Thanks, Laurie! I agree about the possibilities magic introduces in fiction. Like another level of understanding you can't get to otherwise. :)

  5. Thanks, Laura! This has been on our "to read" list for ages at my house! Now we really will read it! Thank you!

    1. That's good to hear, Erin! I know you will love it. :)

  6. I really enjoyed reading your review, Laura! I've never heard of this book before, but I just added it on my "want to read" list on Goodreads. Thank you for sharing! :)

  7. Thank you, Julie! That's so good to hear!


Please note that your comment hasn't gone through unless you see the notice: "Your comment will be visible after approval." We apologize for any difficulties posting comments or delays in moderation.