There must be thousands of children’s stories I’ve never read in the many years since I outgrew that genre. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane made me realize that I can still learn something from them.
Edward, a three-foot tall china rabbit, belongs to a girl named Abilene. Dandyish, vain and pampered, he takes her devotion for granted until a cruel occurrence separates him from his young companion. Suddenly, he finds himself cast into an ocean, powerless to help himself since dolls, of course, cannot move. Only the intervention of strangers rescues him from a series of horrific events. Most of them are castaways, like himself. Along the way he learns how precious it is to be loved.
Edward’s journey reminds me how dependent children are, and how overwhelming life can be for them. But when you think about it, life is pretty much that way at any age.
The author, Kate DiCamillo, has won much acclaim for her children’s novels. Her first published work was Because of Winn-Dixie. She was named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for 2014-2015.
I’m not sure what reading level this book is suitable for. I did notice a few words like “ennui” and “condescending” that some children may not understand. The story covers a range of emotions, and may seem a bit scary at times. Nevertheless, Bagram Ibatoulline’s illustrations are warm and inviting, and the tale has an ending that is well worth waiting for. I give it a five-star rating.
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