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A China Rabbit Grows a Real Heart

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo

Reviewed by Jenny Sawyer
Christian Science Monitor

"True confessions. On a forlorn little shelf in a dark closet, deep in the recesses of my parents' basement, sits a family of dolls. My dolls. Because, well, even these many years later, I can't quite bear to give them up. Unlike the character at the center of Kate DiCamillo's newest offering — The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane — my beloveds aren't handcrafted or made of china or in possession of an extraordinary wardrobe. But just like Edward (who happens to be a rabbit, not a doll) they were, for years, the center of my universe. Magical. Loyal. And infinitely lovable." Read the entire Christian Science Monitor review.

2 Responses to "A China Rabbit Grows a Real Heart"

    Fuse #8 July 31st, 2006 at 6:14 am

    I dunno. I think the Washington Post review of this book by Elizabeth Ward had a far better grasp on what this book was really about. No one else has really noticed that every person Tulane comes in contact with ends up the worse for it. Or that it's not about a child's love but a very adult and romantic one. As one friend of mine put it, "The book reads like something written by a woman who was just dumped in a relationship". The packaging and the marketing were superb. The story? Not so much.

    Rhonda Baker September 29th, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    Lessons my daughter has learned from Edward Tulane:

    Little children can cough and cough so hard that they cough up blood.

    Little children can die from coughing. This is especially terrifying if you have asthma or get croup.

    It’s okay to run away from home.

    There are mean, mean adult people out there who crush dolls or throw them in trash heaps or smash them; who hit their children and tell them they are going to die; who throw homeless people from trains and kick dogs; who ridicule their elderly parents or refuse to let children keep a beloved toy.

    The adults who do these things never ever get punished for their actions. Nothing bad happens to them at all; they just walk away scot-free.

    Bad things happen, over and over again, especially to those who are young, good, and innocent; that’s just how life is. Even when you are loved.

    If someone tries to cheer you up or give you hope, just ignore them and they will go away.

    If someone tells you that you should just end your life, you should consider it.

    Since Edward is “just a toy”, you don’t have to feel bad for him. He’s helpless. These awful things are bound to happen to those that are helpless. Like toys. Or forests. Or animals. Or children.

    It's okay to be abused and miserable and pathetic and defeatist in this life because after you die it's all so lovely. You don’t really need to even try to change your attitude. In the end, it won’t matter how you lived.

    Don't waste your time hoping for love because no one will love you until you're dead.

    It’s okay if you never try. It’s okay if all you ever are is a victim.

    Because the good news is: maybe, just maybe, in the end (whether that be the literal end of the story, or the obvious metaphorical end of life), all the torture and pain and despair and hopelessness MIGHT end well. And everything that happened won’t matter. In fact, it never did. All that matters is the ending.

    These are not the lessons I want my child to learn, from this or any other book.

    This is a time in history where, more than ever, I want my kids to know they are active participants in life; that they can change the world with their ideas and thoughts; that they can have hope and joy and that they are not victims.

    The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is reminiscent of the old Grimm fairy tales; the old Christian tales of the bad things that happen to naughty little girls and boys; the violent and disturbing old ‘children’s’ cartoons like Tom & Jerry, and Road Runner. If I want to teach my children perseverance, I will read them Little House on the Prairie. If I want to tell them the adventures of inanimate objects without cruelty and despair (in other words, the challenges life gives us) I will read them Hitty; Her First Hundred Years. If I want her to understand death of a loved one, we’ll do Charlotte’s Web.

    If I want them to learn about love, I will read them hundreds of other stories that are positive and hopeful throughout: let’s start with The Velveteen Rabbit. Maybe Edward should read The Velveteen Rabbit himself.

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