Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Magician's Elephant - By Katie Di Camillo Illustrated by Yoko Tanka

The author of "The Tale of Despereaux" and "Because of Winn Dixie" has come out with a new and enchanting book.  The Magician's Elephant is uniquely and poetically written.  It is a tale of undying hope, faith in things unseen, and enduring love.
The book starts with introducing us to the narrator, a young orphan named Peter.  He lives upstairs in the attic with his care giver Vilna Lutz.  DiCamilllo takes an impossible situation and makes it into a wonderful story.  As the title suggests there is a lot of magic and fortune telling involved. 

POSITIVE Kate DiCamillo does a good job of creating characters that you feel strongly about and are connected to.  The main character, Peter, has strong character traits that you can point out to your child if you are reading the book to them.  He is loving, loyal, honorable, and brave.  The love Peter has for his sister made my heart melt.

EDUCATIONAL  This book is a good blend of fantasy and reality.  While reading it to your child you can point out what makes a book considered fantasy.  There is good character development that progresses through the book also.

  • Character trait chart of one of the main characters (relate Bible verses to these traits and see how your child can develop them)
  • Dig deeper into Christianity and what God's Word says about magic
  • Write chapters from the Elephant's perspective like Ch. 1
  • Make a relationship map on  how all the characters are connected
  • Write about the night at the opera house from your child's point of view - as if they were there
  • Illustrate favorite scenes from the book
Any comments or suggestions are always welcome!

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