xoxoxoe’s #CBR4 Review #50: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo
“Once there was a princess who was very beautiful. She shone bright as the stars on a moonless night. But what difference did it make that she was beautiful? None. No difference.”
Why did it make no difference?” asked Abilene.
Because,” said Pellegrina, “She was a princess who loved no one and cared nothing for love, even though there were many who loved her.”
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a children’s book, geared towards ages 7 and older, but after reading it, I’m not sure what kids might think of it. It is ultimately uplifting, but also, quite frequently and unremittingly sad. It’s a lot like life. The tale will resonate with adults, as love and loss are beautifully examined. But children may just focus on the dangers and sad moments that befall hero Edward Tulane.
Edward is a unique china rabbit, beloved by a little girl named Abilene Tulane. She adores him and dresses him in beautiful clothes and takes him everywhere with her. Edward is also exceedingly vain. He doesn’t consider himself to be a toy. He is something beyond, something special. He accepts Abilene’s love, as something one so fine as himself should deserve, but doesn’t seem to even consider returning it. He is very observant of the world (as his painted eyes are always open), and is especially fond of glimpses of the night sky and the stars, but not very interested in the humans that populate it.
|Abilene gives Edward a hug|
But one day Edward is separated from Abilene, and his world is never the same. He is buffeted by weather, chance and other circumstances to a series of new homes and relationships. Through a series of trials and separations he finally finds himself interested in others. Like Dr. Seuss’s Grinch, Edward must discover whether a china rabbit can have a heart at all.
Author Kate DiCamillo’s prose is compact but lyrical. Edward is exasperating, but readers will still care about what happens to him — and especially what happens to the people that he encounters. Edward has an effect on everyone he meets, and eventually they begin to affect him. Illustrator Bagram Ibatoulline’s black and white and color drawings are a perfect accompaniment to the story, their style lending a vintage touch.
“Open your heart. Someone will come. Someone will come for you. But first you must open your heart.”
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is bound to be a classic. I think it might be best for an adult to read the book to a child first, so one can discuss some of the darker aspects of the story — and there are darker aspects. But once a child knows the story and china bunny Edward’s fate, it will certainly be a book to read and re-read. Adults may find they want to pick it up again and again too, as a reminder about love and loss, and how special some things and some people can be in our lives.