Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Magician's Elephant

The Magician's Elephant

Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator:  Yoko Tanaka 
For ages 9 to 12
Candlewick Press, 2009   ISBN: 0763644102

One day Peter Augustus Duchene uses the money that he is supposed to use to buy fish to pay a fortuneteller to tell him if his sister is still alive. According to the fortuneteller, an elephant will lead Peter to his sister. Peter does not know what to think. Surely there are no elephants in the city of Baltese.

That very evening a magician gives a performance in the Bliffendorf Opera House. No one expects much from the magician, so they are astonished beyond belief when he conjures up an elephant out of thin air. Unfortunately the elephant lands on a member of the audience, crushing her legs.

When Peter hears that there is a real elephant in town he goes to see the great animal. He is touched by its sad plight and decides that he must find a way to free it,. Surely if the magician could bring the elephant to Baltese he can also send the animal back to its home. Unfortunately, the magician is in prison. Not knowing what else to do, Peter asks his neighbor, a policeman called Leo Matienne, for help.

In this spellbinding book, Kate DiCamillo tells a story about loss, relationships, and the will that some people have to bring about change. Peter and his friends have to question what is, and they have to dare to try to change what seems unchangeable.

With a powerful message and written in memorable and beautiful language, this is a book that readers of all ages will appreciate and marvel over.