With more of a Journey of Edward Tulane feel than The Tale of Desperaux (two of her previous books), The Magician's Elephant is a tale of hope, love and magic. Peter Duchene lives a miserable life with his guardian, Vilna Lutz. His father died on the battlefield, his mother in childbirth delivering Peter's sister -- who was stillborn according to Lutz. But Peter has never really believed this, due to a fleeting memory of holding his infant sister before his mother died.
A fortuneteller confirms that his sister is indeed alive -- and that an elephant of all things will lead him to her. So when a magician performing at the town's opera house that very evening accidentally magics an elephant into existence (it falls through the ceiling) Peter knows this is the sign he's been waiting for.
DiCamillo tells Peter's story with such tenderness that you can't help but love him and want his dreams to come true. Yoko Tanaka's illustrations are the perfect compliment, not too sweet but touching -- just like the story.
Heavy emotional moments may be too much for the under-kinder set, or the sensitive early elementary reader. But for DiCamillo fans, this will be another favorite in a long list of modern-day fairy tales! 4 bookmarks.