The Miraculous Journey of Edward TulaneFirst, let me say, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a pretty emotional book. Kate DiCamillo tells the story of an inanimate China rabbit doll who takes being loved for granted. The journey begins in a comfortable home with a little girl who loves him, but soon Edward is lost. Over the course of days, weeks, months, and years, this China rabbit spends his time lost and alone (once at sea), and with a slew of different characters. Some treat him with care (a hobo includes him as a part of the community of homeless wanderers) , while others do not treat him as he would like (a fisherman’s wife dresses him in girl’s clothing). The ending is as satisfying it gets … I’m almost welling up with tears (the good kind) just thinking about it.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is rated Buy Two!
(One for You, One for a Friend)

The story is timeless, assuming only the technology of boats and trains, as well as the lack of available medical care for a girl with pneumonia (note to parents: if you have a daughter named Sarah, this book may upset her). The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a relatively quick read, as DiCamillo is smooth with her words, and the physical layout of the book causes it to seem longer than it really is. The color plates illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline add a wonderful sense of muted depth to the world of an inanimate main character. When I finished reading it with the young one, I even recommended it to Mama Funk to read on her own (which she did … in about an hour … show-off).

Author DiCamillo says:

“One Christmas, I received an elegantly dressed toy rabbit as a gift. I brought him home, placed him on a chair in my living room, and promptly forgot about him. A few days later, I dreamed that the rabbit was face-down on the ocean floor – lost, and waiting to be found. In telling THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE, I was lost for a good long while, too. And then, finally, like Edward, I was found.”

Illustrator Ibatoulline says:

“It was a singular and most pleasurable experience to work on the illustrations for EDWARD TULANE and to be there with him on his journey. I must admit, I’m a bit wistful now that I’ve come to the end of this very special book.”

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane won a bevy of awards, but it is not DiCamillo’s only award-winning book. There are many others in her catalog, some of which I’ve read, and most of which I’ve very much enjoyed. So far, though, this is my favorite.

While this book is about a doll, it is in no way like Pixar’s Toy Story. Edward doesn’t wake and start moving in the absence of people. DiCamillo gives Edward an internal voice, but he truly is motionless. By the end of his journey, Edward is still motionless, but he is no longer emotionless.

Book Information:

  • Reading Level: Grade 2-4
  • Interest: Age 7-9, Age 10-12
  • Pages: 200
  • Pictures: 1 Full Page Picture per Chapter
  • Main Characters: 1 China Rabbit Doll
  • Genre: Fantasy, Fiction