Sunday, October 4, 2009
The Magician's Elephant, by Kate DiCamillo, as reviewed by Atlas
Really, what can we say about this book that everyone hasn't already said? Magical, definitely, yes. Funny that waiting for snow is one of the minor themes of the book, because that's almost what reading it felt like to me - the sort of muffled softness of a nighttime snow. A tiny bit surreal, without being the least unbelievable. One of my favorite passages:
"Is he mad? Is the boy mad? Is the policeman mad? Has everyone gone mad?"
"Yes," said Hans Ickman after a long moment. "I believe that is the case. Everyone has gone a little mad."
"Oh," said Madam LaVaughn, "very well. I see."
If you want to know what the story is about, there are the three questions repeated throughout:
Could it be?
If you want a synopsis of the story - well, too bad, I'm not giving it any more than anybody else is. You can't go any further than the jacket cover without making an awful muddle of it, so I'm not even going to try. But do, if you read nothing else this month, read this one. If you are a librarian and you haven't ordered it yet, hurry up for goodness sake, before it hits the Newbery and Cybils lists and all the others, and your director asks why you don't already have three copies on your shelves!