Monday, August 15, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade (Minnesota) Monday: The Magician's Elephant


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! 

7 comments:

  1. I love kate Dicamillo's writing. Can't wait to read this one!

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  2. Oh, I adore this book. I hoped it would win something the year it came out in hardcover, but alas! I actually prefer it to Tale of Despereaux. The "what if? could it be?" and the lyricism and magic really captivated me.

    Good choice, Barbara!

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  3. Great choice for MMGM! You can never go wrong with Kate Dicamillo--my daughter is a huge fan of her Mercy Watson books. :-)

    I love the way you did the mmgm links in your side bar!

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  4. Wonderful review! My kids loved Despereaux and Winn Dixie, but we've yet to read this one.

    Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

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  5. I loved this one too. She's one of my favorite writers.

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  6. Kate DiCamillo's writing entrances me. So glad you all love her too. And....if you didn't know before, now you do - she's a Minnesotan, like me. =)

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  7. I think DiCamillo is a national MG lit queen! Edward Tulane is one of my all time faves. I checked it out from the library, read it, cried, then had to go get my own copy.

    I can't believe I still haven't picked Magician's Elephant up, but now I'll do it sooner rather than later.

    First time cruising around Middle Grade Mondays. In honour of the discovery of this group of MG lit lovers, I wrote a post about what Middle Grade means.

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