Reviews – The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Toys Go Out
Hugs and snuggles. Jumbles and tumbles. So is the life of a child’s favorite toy.
Whether wagged faithfully throughout the daily routine of a preschooler, relegated to the bottom of the toy box for weeks at a time, or mysteriously lost like socks in the washing machine, special toys often become loved friends but sometimes just don’t get the respect they deserve.
Two new books this year, one released this spring and another scheduled for release this fall, give us rare insight into the secret lives of such toys. You do know that toys have real lives, don’t you? And surely you must be aware of what makes a toy come to life, I hope.
Author Kate DiCamillo recently shared with us The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Edward’s story, an adventure of friendship and love, is told from the viewpoint of Edward himself, a china rabbit held dear by his original owner, Abilene. You may immediately think of another rabbit, of the velveteen kind, but do not let those impressions predict what you will learn of Edward.
Abilene does love Edward; he knows that. But he also knows a torn heart and a tattered body due to circumstances beyond his control. Even loving children are known to produce circumstances beyond their toys’ control. As Edward’s tale unfolds across the globe, he meets others who love and understand his predicament and some who have no clue and not a care as to how his life has been molded. With each circumstance, Edward gains new attire, a new name or a new story to either help or hinder him as he grows older.
Published in March 2006, by Candlewick Press, and already the recipient of several national awards, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane spans 27 chapters highlighted by the illustrations of Bagram Ibatoulline. In addition to being suitable for children, all who have learned to find love again will enjoy Edward’s journey into their hearts.
Just as you may have recognized another familiar rabbit in DiCamillo’s book, you may also personally know cousins or other relatives of the characters in Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic by Emily Jenkins. I am sure Pink Bear, Libearian, and Away, friends of my granddaughter’s with whom l am quite closely acquainted, are in fact distantly if not closely related.
Immediately, in the six short chapters of Toys Go Out, I could totally imagine my granddaughter’s own special friend, Libearian, competing verbally with Stingray in the backpack, as Pink Bear helps Toughy overcome his fear of Frank the washing machine, while Away and Plastic ponder the reason for their existence and find comfort in what they truly are. To be honest, I must admit to sneaking peeks at the pictures by Paul O. Zelinsky in search of that comfort myself.
Smiles abound and laughter is alive when reading this book, much like life joyfully shared with a special child. Toys Go Out is planned for release by Schwartz & Wade, a new addition to Random House, on Sept. 12. Plan now to add these intuitive pages to your reading list or bookshelf.
The reviewer, Iris Shreve Garrott, is Youth Services Manager for McCracken County Public Library where she is familiar as Ms. Iris, and known by the teenagers there as “protector of the wee ones.” She is more intimately known as Grandy to 2-year old Levynn, whose boy cousin Clark, expected in August, will be Grandy’s second grandchild.