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The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Last updated Monday, October 28, 2013

Author: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator: Bagram Ibatoulline
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0763625892
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2010

Synopsis: As she did in her Newbery Medal Book, The Tale of Despereaux (2004), DiCamillo tucks important messages into this story and once more plumbs the mystery of the heart--or, in this case, the heartless. Edward Tulane is a china rabbit with an extensive wardrobe. He belongs to 10-year-old Abilene, who thinks almost as highly of Edward as Edward does of himself. Even young children will soon realize that Edward is riding for a fall. And fall he does, into the sea, after mean boys rip him from Abilene's hands during an ocean voyage. Thus begins Edward's journey from watery grave to the gentle embrace of a fisherman's wife, to the care of a hobo and his dog, and into the hands of a dying girl. Then, pure meanness breaks Edward apart, and love and sacrifice put him back together--until just the right child finds him. With every person who taouches him, Edward's heart grows a little bit softer and a little bit bigger. Bruised and battered, Edward is at his most beautiful, and beautiful is a fine word to describe the artwork. Ibatoulline outdoes himself; his precisely rendered sepia-tone drawings and color plates of high artistic merit are an integral part of this handsomely designed package. Yet even standing alone, the story soars because of DiCamillo's lyrical use of language and her understanding of universal yearnings. This will be a pleasure to read aloud. Ilene Cooper Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Note to readers:
•  This is an easy read, although some of the vocabulary is advanced. Please read at least through Chapter 7 because that is when the story begins. In order to get through more of the book, define the vocabulary as you read instead of reviewing the difficult words in the beginning which may take up more time.
•  torso
•  reflected
•  jaunty
•  ennui
•  courtesy
•  condescending
•  vigorously
•  derogatory
•  excruciatingly
•  consequences
•  triumphantly
•  ferocity
•  umbrage
•  discerning

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Looking at the cover, who do you think Edward Tulane is? (the rabbit)
•  What is a “Miraculous Journey? What would a “miraculous journey” be for you?
•  Did/do you have a favorite toy? What is it?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you think your toys understand you?
•  If they do, should you be nicer to them?
•  Where is the Queen Mary now? (docked in Long Beach harbor)
•  Why do you think Aunt Pellegrina told the story to Edward? Does Edward love Abilene? Anyone?
•  How would your life be different if no one loved you or if you loved no one?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a fancy rabbit mask from construction paper or a paper plate. Make sure to decorate the mask with fancy collars, bow ties, bows etc…
•  Create a mask of your favorite stuffed animal and/or doll.
•  Draw the Queen Mary with Edward or your favorite toy on it!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!