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6 Local Warehouse Children's Middle Readers- General

The Magician's Elephant


The Magician's Elephant Cover

ISBN13: 9780763644109
ISBN10: 0763644102
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Judith Claudi-Magnusse, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Judith Claudi-Magnusse)
A touching story. Very imaginative.
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(2 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Annette P, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Annette P)
The Magician's Elephant reminds us that we must hope and dream, and consider even what seems impossible in order to rise above the challenges that living in our world brings. I enjoyed Kate DiCamillo's tale because she presents these positive ideas simply and eloquently. While most of us are used to saying "why?", she reminds us "why not?" and "what if?". I bought this book as a gift for an adult friend as a Christmas present because I knew that she would appreciate the quality of the storytelling. When I read the first chapter myself, I knew that I had to read it too. Is the story's outcome predictable? Others have stated so in their reviews. I don't think it matters whether or not it is. This story is all about the message: to hope and to trust and to believe in yourself. I think that is the real magic!
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(5 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)
The Eager Readers, March 10, 2010 (view all comments by The Eager Readers)
he Magician's Elephant is a sweet tale of hope set in a world colored by grief and monotony. Yoko Tanaka's bleak black and white illustrations are quiet and expressive and seem well-suited to the cold and wintry atmosphere of the story. Readers who liked The Tale of Despereaux may find this book a slower, more-predictable adventure, but they will still enjoy Kate DiCamillo's fable-like prose & her characters filled with heart and hopefulness.

What I liked:
- The quirky cast of characters. Kate DiCamillo has a knack for revealing her character's dreams and fears in a straightforward and touching way, and she succeeds in sharing the key experiences that shaped their personalities & attitudes.
- The idea of an elephant inexplicably crashing through the ceiling of an opera house is explored in a way that reflects both the sadness and the heartfelt wish that precipitated her arrival. That side of the storyline also touches on the lack of compassion in keeping a wild animal in captivity for human entertainment, which I really appreciated.
- Virtually all of the main & supporting character's are compelling in some way & you'll want to see each of their dreams realized and their hopes validated.
- Some of the bit players with the tiniest of rolls were very entertaining. For example, the captain of police and the Countess Quintet play very small rolls, but they are both memorable and amusing.

What I wished:
- The story had been less predictable. Even our five year old was certain about the story's eventual outcome after reading the first couple of chapters. And predictability can be a deal-breaker in our household. Even if the characters are charming or pitiable & the initial concept is unusual, predictability can make a short & relatively entertaining book seem too long. Predictability can also lead us to be overly critical of minor characters who seem unnecessary to the plot as well as any scenes that do not actively drive the plot forward.
- Peter is a tender-hearted young boy who is used to being lonely & quietly grieving for the family he has lost. Those qualities define him & as readers we long for him to find both his sister & a real family, but I wanted to see more layers of Peter's personality explored and more changes becoming evident in him as the story progressed.

I liked The Magician's Elephant and would recommend it to young and old readers alike. It will particularly appeal to readers with a fondness for reaffirming tales of hope and faith. It is populated by characters who have each seen their share of heartbreak and live in a fairly monotonous, gloomy world. But despite their disappointments, many of these individuals maintain a spark of hope and a longing for the seemingly impossible, which ultimately brings them together to explore "What if?" instead of settling for what is.
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(4 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
inkspotswis, September 7, 2009 (view all comments by inkspotswis)

The bizarre – an elephant magically falling through the roof of a packed opera house – meshes with the dreamingly poignent – an orphaned brother and sister’s wish to be reunited -- in a tenderhearted tale that celebrates the connections between us and the courage it takes to follow dreams. Newbery Medal-winning author Kate DiCamillo succeeds once again with “The Magician’s Elephant,” a story about a magician who one winter evening brings an elephant crashing down onto his audience. On that same evening in the same city, a fortune teller informs a boy that an elephant will appear and lead him to his presumed-dead sister. A begger and his a blind dog, a noblewoman crippled by the falling elephant, a nun who oversees the local orphanage, a policeman and his wife who have no children of their own, a crippled former stonecutter hired to scoop elephant poop, the elephant, the boy Peter and his sister Adele form an ensemble cast who confront life’s deepest questions in their nighttime dreams, and who, each in their own small way, contribute to the tale’s simple yet miraculous conclusion. Each mired in their own difficult circumstances, the characters don’t have much reason to believe that life will change. But one by one they allow themselves to ask “what if?” What if they took a chance, what if they believed that change was possible, what if they were capable of making it happen? When that mindset takes hold, amazing things occur. The black and white illustrations bolster the story’s wintry feel, as characters wish for snow as they suffer through gray, laden skies and bitter cold. The perfect illustrative accompaniment to a story about daring to move after long standing still.
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

DiCamillo, Kate
Candlewick Press (MA)
Tanaka, Yoko
Resnick, Jacqueline
Glewwe, Eleanor
Tanaka, Yoko
Cook, Matthew
Brothers and sisters
Adventure and adventurers
Fantasy & Magic
Animals - Elephants
Family - Siblings
Fantasy fiction
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Children s-Science Fiction and Fantasy
Animals - General
fantasy;magic;orphans;fiction;elephants;family;children s;elephant;brothers and sisters;magicians;hope;children;ya;siblings;animals;adventure;love;fairy tales;children s fiction;children s literature;juvenile fiction;orphan;young adult;magical realism;juv
fantasy;magic;orphans;fiction;elephants;family;children s;elephant;brothers and sisters;magicians;hope;children;ya;siblings;animals;adventure;love;fairy tales;children s fiction;children s literature;juvenile fiction;orphan;young adult;magical realism;juv
fantasy;magic;orphans;fiction;elephants;family;children s;elephant;brothers and sisters;magicians;hope;children;ya;siblings;animals;adventure;love;fairy tales;children s fiction;children s literature;juvenile fiction;orphan;young adult;magical realism;juv
Edition Description:
Misfit Menagerie
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
from 3 up to 7
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:

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Related Subjects

Children's » Animals » Elephants
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Reference » Family and Genealogy
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General

The Magician's Elephant Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.50 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Candlewick Press (MA) - English 9780763644109 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Read[s] like a fable told long ago, with rich language that begs to be read aloud....A quieter volume than The Tale of Despereaux (2003) and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (2006), this has an equal power to haunt readers long past the final page."
"Review" by , "The profound and deeply affecting emotions at work in the story are buoyed up by the tale's succinct, lyrical text....Tanaka's charming black-and-white acrylic illustrations have a soft, period feel that perfectly matches the tone of this spellbinding story."
"Review" by , "DiCamillo's carefully crafted prose creates an evocative aura of timelessness for a story that is, in fact, timeless. Tanaka's acrylic artwork is meticulous in detail and aptly matches the tone of the narrative. This is a book that demands to be read aloud."
"Review" by , "DiCamillo entrances her audience with a group of quaint characters....Thoughtful readers will feel a quiet satisfaction with this almost dainty tale of impossible happenings."
"Review" by , "[T]he prose is remarkable, reflecting influences from Kafka to the theater of the absurd to Laurel-and-Hardy humor....[A]n impressive addition to the DiCamillo canon."
"Synopsis" by , In her eagerly awaited new novel, the Newbery Medal-winning author of The Tale of Despereaux conjures a haunting fable about trusting the unexpected — and making the impossible come true. DiCamillo evokes themes of hope and belonging, desire and compassion. Illustrations.
"Synopsis" by ,
In the city of Ashara, magicians rule all.

Marah Levi is a promising violinist who excels at school and can read more languages than most librarians. Even so, she has little hope of a bright future: she is a sparker, a member of the oppressed lower class in a society run by magicians.

Then a mysterious disease hits the city of Ashara, turning its victims eyes dark before ultimately killing them. As Marah watches those whom she loves most fall ill, she finds an unlikely friend in Azariah, a wealthy magician boy. Together they pursue a cure in secret, but more people are dying every day, and time is running out. Then Marah and Azariah make a shocking discovery that turns inside-out everything they thought they knew about magic and about Ashara, their home. 

Set in an imaginative world rich with language, lore, and music, this gripping adventure plunges the reader into the heart of a magical government where sparks of dissent may be even more deadly than the dark eyes.

"Synopsis" by , In a highly awaited new novel, Kate DiCamillo conjures a haunting fable about trusting the unexpected — and making the extraordinary come true.

What if? Why not? Could it be?

When a fortuneteller's tent appears in the market square of the city of Baltese, orphan Peter Augustus Duchene knows the questions that he needs to ask: Does his sister still live? And if so, how can he find her? The fortuneteller's mysterious answer (an elephant! An elephant will lead him there!) sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that you will hardly dare to believe its true. With atmospheric illustrations by fine artist Yoko Tanaka, here is a dreamlike and captivating tale that could only be narrated by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo. In this timeless fable, she evokes the largest of themes — hope and belonging, desire and compassion — with the lightness of a magicians touch.

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