Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.
And then, one day, he was lost.
Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle--that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.
DiCamillo has written a truly beautiful story. I don't know how she managed to make Edward fully a china rabbit with a believably human soul. She doesn't anthromorphize him--he cannot move or blink or talk. But he is an old soul, one which can teach us a lot about life and love.
There's a very fairy tale feeling to this story, with the winding adventures and various people Edward runs into. And of course the whole theme of the book is set in motion with Grandma Pellegrina's story about a princess who does not love anyone, and is subsequently turned into a warthog.
Edward begins in much the same way, selfish and vain. It is only when he loses the person he loves, endures awful circumstances, and finds new people to love, that he understands what the story is really about. But I really like that the story doesn't end with Edward realizing he can love. He also loses person after person who takes him in and cares for him. Eventually, he shuts down, unwilling to open his heart to anyone else. Which is just, well, so accurate. Though of course that is not how the story ends.
DiCamillo's writing is gorgeous, as are the pictures that appear every few chapters. This book is a treat.
Five out of five patchwork dolls.
Release Date: February 2006
Reading Level: Grade 3+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection: BLUESTEM