Here is the first review of the 2011 Colorado Children's Book Award Nominees. The age range is 9-12.
The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DeCamillo
The Magician’s Elephant is filled with just the right amount of hope, love and magic to hook and hold readers. Her use of the elephant as the catalyst in the story brought to mind the story I read eons ago The Old Wives’ Tale by Arnold Bennett. He also used an elephant as the catalyst but it didn’t come off as well as here.
DeCamillo’s many characters each possesses a part of us all. I particularly found the character of Vilna Lutz to be the most heartbreaking. The choice he made so many years before continues to haunt him even after all the other characters find the happiness and truth they have been seeking.
The flow and rhythm of DeCamillo’s writing moves her story along swiftly (I read the book in under an hour and a half!), and her words almost ring as you read. Like The Tale of Despereaux, her seemingly simple approach to complex ideas in The Magician's Elephant reaches across to fans and new readers of DeCamillo.
An excellent read for all ages. For younger readers, the elephant will be as memorable as Despereaux.