From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 3-6–This achingly beautiful story shows a true master of writing at her very best. Edward Tulane is an exceedingly vain, cold-hearted china rabbit owned by 10-year-old Abilene Tulane, who dearly loves him. Her grandmother relates a fairy tale about a princess who never felt love; she then whispers to Edward that he disappoints her. His path to redemption begins when he falls overboard throughout the familys ocean journey. Sinking to the bottom of the sea where he will spend 297 days, Edward feels his first emotion–fear. Caught in a fishermans net, he lives with the old man and his wife and begins to care about his humans. Then their adult daughter takes him to the dump, where a dog and a hobo find him. They ride the rails together until Edward is cruelly separated from them. His heart is actually broken when next owner, four-year-old Sarah Ruth, dies. He recalls Abilenes grandmother with a new sense of humility, wishing she knew that he has learned to love. When his head is shattered by an angry man, Edward wants to enroll in Sarah Ruth but those he has loved convince him to live. Repaired by a doll store owner, he closes his heart to love, as it is too painful, until a wise doll tells him that he that he will have to open his heart for someone to love him. This superb book is beautifully written in spare yet stirring language. The tender look at the changes from arrogance to grateful loving is perfectly delineated. Ibatoullines lovely sepia-toned gouache illustrations and beautifully rendered color plates are exquisite. An ever-so-marvelous tale.–B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY
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*Starred Review* Gr. 2-4. As she did in her Newbery Medal Book, The Tale of Despereaux (2004), DiCamillo tucks important messages into this story and once more plumbs the mystery of the heart–or, in this case, the heartless. Edward Tulane is a china rabbit with an extensive wardrobe. He belongs to 10-year-old Abilene, who thinks almost as highly of Edward as Edward does of himself. Even young children will soon realize that Edward is riding for a fall. And fall he does, into the sea, after mean boys rip him from Abilene’s hands throughout an ocean voyage. Thus begins Edward’s journey from watery grave to the gentle embrace of a fisherman’s wife, to the care of a hobo and his dog, and into the hands of a dying girl. Then, pure meanness breaks Edward apart, and love and sacrifice put him back together–until just the right child finds him. With every person who taouches him, Edward’s heart grows a little bit softer and a little bit bigger. Bruised and battered, Edward is at his most beautiful, and beautiful is a fine word to describe the artwork. Ibatoulline outdoes himself; his precisely rendered sepia-tone drawings and color plates of high artistic merit are an integral a part of this handsomely designed package. Yet even standing alone, the story soars on account of DiCamillo’s lyrical use of language and her understanding of universal yearnings. This will be a pleasure to read aloud. Ilene Cooper
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A timeless tale by the incomparable Kate DiCamillo, complete with stunning full-color plates by Bagram Ibatoulline, honors the enduring power of love.Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was once very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was once owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely. And then, sooner or later, he was once lost. Kate DiCamillo takes us on an odd journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes’ camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can discover ways to love, to lose, and to love again.