the magician’s elephant

“Magic is always impossible… It begins with the impossible and ends with the impossible and is impossible in between. That is why it is magic.” – The magician, p 154

Jay is always telling me I am like a child. Sometimes this is said with frustration when I am in the throws of a tantrum, but mostly it’s said lovingly – that I am joyful, playful & naive like a child, which I am quite pleased to hold on to for as long as possible! So, it is unsurprising that I also enjoy reading the odd children’s book every now and then…

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon in 2010 that I came across Kate DiCamillo’s latest book The Magician’s Elephant in the Clarke’s library. The American author received the Newbery Medal for The Tale of Desperaux (made into the adorable animated film in 2005) and the Newbery Honor for Because of Winn Dixie.

It’s a short but sweet story, abundant with the perfect themes that make children’s literature a real pleasure to read no matter what your age; hope, belief, loyalty, compassion & forgiveness.

It’s a magical story that draws you right into a fantastical town called Baltese (think Paris meets Prague on a small scale) where you meet orphaned 10 year old Peter Augustus Duchene who is living with a stern war veteran who is intent on training Peter to be a soldier. In a “Jack and the Bean Stalk” type moment, Peter spends their little money meant for bread on a fortune teller who gives him hope that he may just have family after all… She cryptically says  “The elephant… You must follow the elephant… She will lead you there.”  That seems an impossible feat as Baltese has never seen an elephant.

Through a myriad of quirky characters and magical events Peter is lead with heart-warming hope on a quest of truth and love.

There is truly magic on every page.

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