Author: Kate DiCamillo
F/P Level: U
AR Level: 5.0
Genre: Fantasy / Fairy Tale
Length: 201 pages
I am a huge fan of Kate Dicamillo but was disappointed by The Magician's Elephant. It is the story of a boy and his search for his never-before-seen sister, a magician and his quest to undo his magic trick of making an elephant appear from the sky, and several other characters who all have varying degrees of unhappiness in their lives. The novel explores the themes of expecting the unexpected and believing in the impossible. DiCamillo, as always, does a remarkable job of creating mood and painting images with her lyrical prose.
Much like she did in The Tale of Despereaux, DiCamillo weaves together the stories of seemingly disparate characters. However, I found the characters to be unremarkable and underdeveloped, and as a result, I could never feel any connection to their struggles and desires. I kept hoping that some profound truth would be revealed as the novel progressed, but sadly, the ending was all too predictable.
Younger children may enjoy the fairy tale aspects (magic, happy ending), but will likely be turned off by the lack of action and the more difficult vocabulary.
Suggested alternatives: The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane