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The Magician's Elephant Paperback – Illustrated, December 8, 2015

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,217 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Kate DiCamillo has a gift, inequitably distributed among writers of all kinds, of eliminating the obvious and still egging on the reader. She writes beautifully but thinks simply. The purity of her prose – the reader goes from paragraph to paragraph delighting in the wonderful simple sentences – only adds to the winsome purity of her vision.
—New York Times Book Review

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.
—School Library Journal (starred review)

Reading like a fable told long ago, with rich language that begs to be read aloud, this is a magical story about hope and love, loss and home, and of questioning the world versus accepting it as it is.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

From the unexpectedly miraculous feats of a two-bit illusionist to the transformative powers of love, forgiveness, and a good mutton stew, there is much magic afoot in this fable-like tale… The profound and deeply affecting emotions at work in the story are buoyed up by the tale’s succinct, lyrical text, gentle touches of humor, and uplifting message of redemption, hope, and the interminable power of asking ‘what if?
—Booklist (starred review)

Thoughtful readers will feel a quiet satisfaction with this almost dainty tale of impossible happenings.
—VOYA

DiCamillo’s allegorical novel seems to pack more mass per square inch than average. The plot is fantastical, surreal…And the prose is remarkable, reflecting influences from Kafka to the theater of the absurd to Laurel-and-Hardy humor.
—The Horn Book

The mannered prose and Tanaka's delicate, darkly hued paintings give the story a somber and old-fashioned feel. The absurdist elements—street vendors peddle chunks of the now-infamous opera house ceiling with the cry “Possess the plaster of disaster!”—leaven the overall seriousness, and there is a happy if predictable ending for the eccentric cast of anguished characters, each finding something to make them whole.
—Publishers Weekly

Kate DiCamillo tells a tale of ‘hope, redemption, faith, love, and believing in the impossible’ with her usual quiet elegant prose.
—Library Media Connection

Tanaka’s shadowy, evocative acrylic paintings echo the dreamy nature of the storytelling and add a surprising amount of solidity (and a particularly nice elephant).
—Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books

With its rhythmic sentences and fairy-tale tone, this novel yields solitary pleasures but begs to be read aloud. Hearing it in a shared space can connect us, one to one, regardless of age, much like the book's closing image: a small stone carving, hands linked, of the elephant's friends.
—Washington Post Book World

Though DiCamillo's first success was with realistic fiction, she has since explored fantasy, here looking at how individuals and society take an impossible event into their narrative of the way the world is. Is it broken or fixable by those who embrace the unusual?
—Chicago Tribune

DiCamillo's elegant, evocative prose underpins the otherworldliness of Baltese, a place where a long-accepted truth can be shattered as easily as an elephant crashes through the opera-house ceiling.
—Austin American-Statesman

Readers willing to venture a little deeper into the darkness will be reassured and rewarded by the singular sense of hope that nearly glows from DiCamillo's prose, and from the incandescent illustrations created by Yoko Tanaka.
—Minneapolis Star Tribune

The power of DiCamillo’s writing enables the hope and determination of the characters to break through the gloom that penetrates the story...DiCamillo has again captured the loneliness and unwavering optimism that can only be found in children.
—Foreword

Using short yet powerful sentences and cinematic descriptions, DiCamillo creates another emotion-swelling gem in what is becoming an impressive crown of work.
—Cleveland Plain Dealer

Lyrical language and many interesting characters make this a wonderful read aloud book or one to be savored alone.
—Kansas City Star

Bringing all these characters together for a happy ending requires its own special magic, which is enhanced by DiCamillo's finely rendered Old World writing style — and the gorgeously muted pencil illustrations of Los Angeles artist Yoko Tanaka.
—Los Angeles Times

About the Author

  

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Candlewick; Illustrated edition (December 8, 2015)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 224 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0763680885
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0763680886
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 - 12 years
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 3 - 7
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 6.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.2 x 0.61 x 7.64 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 1,217 ratings

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Kate DiCamillo’s writing journey has been a truly remarkable one. She grew up in Florida and moved to Minnesota in her twenties, when homesickness and a bitter winter led her to write Because of Winn-Dixie — her first published novel, which became a runaway bestseller and snapped up a Newbery Honor. The Tiger Rising, her second novel, was also set in Florida and went on to become a National Book Award finalist. Since then, the best-selling author has explored settings as varied as a medieval castle and a magician’s theater while continuing to enjoy great success, winning two Newbery Medals and being named National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. She now has almost 30 million books in print worldwide.

Now, for the first time ever, Kate DiCamillo is returning to the world of a previous novel to tell us more about a character whom her fans already know and love. In Louisiana’s Way Home, set two years after the events of National Book Award finalist Raymie Nightingale, she picks up the story of Raymie’s friend Louisiana Elefante, who uncovers difficult truths about her past — and makes choices that will determine her future.

Kate DiCamillo’s books’ themes of hope and belief amid impossible circumstances and their messages of shared humanity and connectedness have resonated with readers of all ages around the world. In her instant #1 New York Times bestseller The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, a haughty china rabbit undergoes a profound transformation after finding himself face down on the ocean floor — lost and waiting to be found. The Tale of Despereaux — the Newbery Medal–winning novel that later inspired an animated adventure from Universal Pictures — stars a tiny mouse with exceptionally large ears who is driven by love to become an unlikely hero. The Magician’s Elephant, an acclaimed and exquisitely paced fable, dares to ask the question What if? And Kate DiCamillo’s second Newbery Medal winner, Flora &amp; Ulysses, was released in 2013 to great acclaim, garnering five starred reviews and an instant spot on the New York Times bestseller list.

Born in Philadelphia but raised in the South, Kate DiCamillo now lives in Minneapolis, where she faithfully writes two pages a day, five days a week.

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
1,217 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 11, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on June 3, 2015
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Top reviews from other countries

Mr T Niwa
5.0 out of 5 stars A book about believing in the impossible
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 27, 2010
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2 people found this helpful
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MF
5.0 out of 5 stars Grandsons
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 29, 2021
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Eva
5.0 out of 5 stars Kate DiCamillo is one of the best authors we've discovered in the last three years
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2015
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Sharati Larki
3.0 out of 5 stars An ok book?
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 29, 2014
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Nicholas Cann
5.0 out of 5 stars The magicians Elephant
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2021
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