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THE MAGICIAN'S ELEPHANT

Author: Kate DiCamillo

Illustrator: Yoko Tanaka

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Publisher: Candlewick,

Material: Galley

Summary: When Vilna Lutz sent Peter (10) to the market, he expected the boy to return home with fish and bread. Instead, Peter spent that coin on a fortuneteller. Surely, she could tell him where to find his sister Adele. When the fortuneteller told Peter to "follow the elephant," he was perplexed. There were no elephants in Baltese ... well, until one fell through the roof of the Bliffendorf Opera House. Surely the path to Adele would be easier, right? Fortune, misfortune, and magic come together in this fairy tale of timeless appeal.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 10 and Up

Interest Level: 8 to 14

Reading Level: 5

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: The story has a Dickens-like feel to it that makes it intriguing and fresh. The side stories introduce additional characters and events along the way, and while they are tied up nicely at the end, it was aggravating to be in the middle of something and then go off on a tangent.

Pros: Readers who love timeless stories with a "classic" feel are likely to read The Magician's Elephant in just one sitting!

Cons: None. The story moves about quite a bit, with additional characters plopped down along the way. This could be frustrating for an 8-year-old trying to listen along. [The book is listed as written for children 8 to 12.]

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least! This is a wonderful choice for reading aloud before bed or a classroom library.

If You Liked This Book, Try: UP AND DOWN THE SCRATCHY MOUNTAINS Or The Search for a Suitable Princess   WHERE WOULD COWS HIDE?   JAKE RANSOM AND THE SKULL KING'S SHADOW

Educational Themes: The setting is such that it isn't difficult to draw out information about life in the 1800s or circus life. There is an underlying story about separation and the relationship between brothers and sisters.

Notes: The Reading Tub® picked up an Advance Review Copy (ARC) at Book Expo America.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, family, adventure, fantasy, fairy tale, magic, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: June 2015

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.




                 

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