“If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless.”
My children and I picked out The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane because it was written by Kate DiCamillo. Having just read Because of Winn-Dixie and being fans of The Tale of Desperaux, we were eager to read the the next book in her catalog of excellent selections. We were not disappointed. Edward not only charms but also instructs, reminding readers that we are all a work in progress.
Edward Tulane is a china rabbit, created by Pelligrina for her granddaughter Abilene’s birthday. Edward, a beautifully dressed vision of rabbit perfection, is adored by Abilene, but Edward’s perfection ends with his appearance. He is a cold rabbit whose shallow preoccupations keep him incapable of love.
After a terrible mishap leaves Edward stranded at the bottom of the sea, he begins an incredible physical journey that also transforms him spiritually and emotionally.
As in most of DiCamillo’s writing, readers can easily identify Christian themes of redemption, forgiveness, transformation, hope, and love. Edward is baptized in the depths of the sea and resurrected to a life of learning to love. He is lost then found by a host of individuals who teach him to love: a fisherman, a hobo, a young boy, and a dying girl. Edward experiences the full breadth of human emotion as he seeks reunion with his beloved Abilene.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is ideal for children ages 7-13 but will capture the hearts and imaginations of older children, as well. My children especially loved Edward’s interactions with children Sarah Ruth and Bryce. The story provides ample opportunity to discuss what it means to truly love, including the risks and rewards of opening your heart to others. “Normally, Edward would have found the intrusive, clingy behavior of this sort very annoying, but there was something about Sarah Ruth. He wanted to take care of her. He wanted to protect her. He wanted to do more for her” (135). Edward Tulane shows young readers what it means to be unselfish and how to love, lose, and love again. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is more than mere entertainment; it’s an invitation to examine your heart and learn how to more fully, unselfishly love others. It’s a book that quickly became a favorite in our homeschool library.