Title: The Magician’s Elephant
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Peter is an orphan in the city of Baltese. He has been told for years by a strict, militaristic guardian that the younger sister he knows he has is dead. In spite of all evidence, Peter is skeptical. One day, he goes down to the market square and pays a fortuneteller to inform him of his sister’s whereabouts. She says that yes, his sister is indeed alive, and that an elephant will lead her to him.
So begins the story of two orphans, a beggar, his dog, a magician, a nun, a countess, and many other memorable characters. They all have various missions and goals, but are all involved with one common element: the elephant. Some of them are connected to the situation through Peter. Others have a completely different outlook. They come from many different classes and occupations, as well as three different species, and yet they are all connected to the one universal element in this book. Armed with a dazzling, poetic writing style and a knack for communicating characters’ feelings, DiCamillo pulls us into her story, forcing us to forget that her main idea should be difficult to believe.
This was a lovely book, with a perfect, timely ending and an impressive amount of maturity in its characters. The people in this story felt no need to impose their problems on the reader or the other characters. They didn’t demand sympathy, move the audience to tears, or become severely depressed. Even the beggar accepted his lifestyle, and the class differences in the characters were not meant to force us into charity work. Without preaching about the “less fortunate,” this book gave the reader insight on the way that many different people live. I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever been interested in what others are thinking.
This story was a large, tangled web of events combining many characters and motives. I’m willing to bet this kind of thing happens in real life. Please comment with your own stories about complicated experiences!
--Celia, 8th grade
I must admit that this is the only one of Ms. DiCamillo's books that I have not read. And I'm not really sure why, because I LOVE her other titles! Thanks, Celia!