If there is such a thing as queen of Minnesota middle grade writers, I choose Kate DiCamillo. She has written numerous beautifully sculpted books for middle graders, including Because of Winn Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and The Tiger Rising. She is also the author of the Mercy Watson series. I chose to highlight The Magician's Elephant simply because I hadn't read it yet and wanted to.
The premise: While at the market one day, orphan Peter Duchene steps into the fortune teller's tent and asks if his sister is still alive. The fortune teller informs Peter to follow the elephant. He has no idea what this means until the Magician's elephant appears. And even then, he struggles with how an elephant will show or teach or lead him to what he wants to know.
What keeps readers reading: The age old question of "What if?" and following the what if even it seems impossible. Kate DiCamillo dares to ask this question and even more, in The Magician's Elephant she dares ask readers to follow her on this journey of "what if?" She has woven this question together with a boy who needs his sister, an elephant who needs to go home, a magician who needs forgiveness, a beggar who needs understanding, a nun who needs purpose, an old soldier who needs care, a married couple who have never had kids, and a hunch-backed man who needs to carve. After reading this book, you will believe that all "what ifs" can come true.
Other MMGMers and their choices for this week:
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Happy middle grade reading!