A classic tale by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo, America's beloved storyteller. When a fortuneteller's tent appears in the market square of the city of Baltese, orphan Peter Augustus Duchene knows the questions that he needs to ask: Does his sister still live? And if so, how can he find her? The fortuneteller's mysterious answer (an elephant! An elephant will lead him there!) sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that you will hardly dare to believe it’s true. With atmospheric illustrations by fine artist Yoko Tanaka, here is a dreamlike and captivating tale that could only be narrated by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo. In this timeless fable, she evokes the largest of themes — hope and belonging, desire and compassion — with the lightness of a magician’s touch. Featuring illustrations and a new cover by Yoko Tanaka, as well as an excerpt of Kate DiCamillo's newest novel, Raymie Nightingale.
In DiCamillo's fifth novel, a clairvoyant tells 10-year-old Peter, an orphan living with a brain-addled ex-soldier, that an elephant will lead him to his sister, who the ex-soldier claims died at birth. The fortuneteller's prediction seems cruelly preposterous as there are no pachyderms anywhere near Baltese, a vaguely eastern European city enduring a bitter winter. Then that night at the opera house, a magician "of advanced years and failing reputation" attempts to conjure a bouquet of lilies but instead produces an elephant that crashes through the ceiling. Peter learns that both magician and beast have been jailed, and upon first glimpse of the imprisoned elephant, Peter realizes that his fate and the elephant's are linked. 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. Ages 8 13.
Whimsical and wonderful
The characters interacted with each other in such a harmonious and silly way that it made this book such a joy to read. Each of them full of personality, wonder and life. I only wish the resolution had played out a bit more as things just seemed to come to an end quite unexpectedly. I guess I would’ve expected a few more hurdles for Peter to jump over. Still a pleasant, warm, funny read.
what a wonderful book it is!!!