GREAT BOOK GURU VIII
Dear Great Book Guru, I am looking for a good book to read to my two children ages 7 and 9. It should be exciting but not too exciting as it will a bedtime read; I do want it to hold my interest , and I admit I have rather high literary standards. Any ideas? Devoted Parent
Dear Devoted, THE MAGICIAN'S ELEPHANT is Kate DiCamillo's latest novel and a very fine one, indeed. The story plot is complicated enough to engage both you and your children and the beautiful, clear prose will satisfy you immensely. Set in a small East European city over two hundred years ago, this short novel- really a novella- is a fable about human kindness, the oppression of war, and the power of the individual to accomplish magic. At its opening , we meet young Peter who has been orphaned in the war and is being cared for haphazardly by an old soldier who is committed to preparing him for the military. In the same building lives a childless couple who yearn to share their home but are afraid to chance another loss. Peter gives his last coin away to have his fortune read and what startling news he hears! His sister he long thought dead is alive awaiting his arrival which will happen when an elephant comes to town- a town that has never seen an elephant. Soon enough the elephant appears- a result of a magician's act gone awry. There are many richly described figures (including the elephant)who play a part in Peter's journey. While a children's story, this beautiful tale would appeal to any adult looking for a poetic rendering of a medieval city and a compendium of characters all on the road to redemption. Her other books BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE and THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX could work for your purposes too. These books are all available at the Sea Cliff Children's Library.
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