Routines are comfortable. Nothing out of the ordinary, means no surprises. No need to adjust, recalibrate, or fine-tune our coping skills. It’s all so easy. So we become complacent. But what happens when a gust of wind sends you off course? What happens when you’re forced into situations that test your priorities and your sense of self? This is the predicament Edward Tulane finds himself in.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo, follows the incredible adventures of its title character. Who’s Edward Tulane? Well, he’s a doll made of china. Actually, let me rephrase that. Edward is definitely NOT a doll. He can barely tolerate them. And he most certainly would not want to be compared to one. So let’s try this again…Edward is a rabbit made of china. He can’t move on his own. Nor can he speak. But what Edward lacks in animation, is more than made up for in acerbic observations of the world around him. And when he finds the dinner-table conversation stimulating enough, he may deign to listen. But in all honesty, Edward’s primary interest has a singular focus. Himself. The concept of caring for or loving someone other than himself, is as foreign to Edward as walking and talking.
Edward belongs to a little girl named Abilene. She dresses him in lavish suits, making sure he’s clean and presentable. She’s protective and always wants him near. And every night, before she falls asleep, Abilene tells Edward she loves him. Edward, of course, responds how one would imagine a toy rabbit would. With silence. He stares with painted-on eyes through her bedroom window, at the stars in the sky that seem just beyond his reach. And he will continue to stare until the stars fade away with the rising sun. This is Edward’s life. He is comfortable. He is well-cared for. He is loved. But an unexpected and reckless act, will rip Edward away from his familiar surroundings, and take him on a journey spanning years. He’ll travel by sea and land; encountering a disparate cast of characters. Edward’s journey is fundamentally an emotional one. He will discover that to love openly requires real courage.
The Miraculous Journey Of Edward Tulane is a beautiful story. It moves fluidly through moments of humor, joy, frustration, despair, and redemption. It shows how our experiences, both good and bad, shape us. We either go inward, in retreat. Or we move outward, with open-hearts. I choose the latter.
Included are amazing illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline.