The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

by Kate DiCamillo

Other authorsBagram Ibatoulline (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 2006

Call number




Candlewick (2006), 228 pages


Edward Tulane, a cold-hearted and proud toy rabbit, loves only himself until he is separated from the little girl who adores him and travels across the country, acquiring new owners and listening to their hopes, dreams, and histories.

User reviews

LibraryThing member disturbingfurniture
Perhaps the most unintentionally disturbing children's books ever written.

A lot of these reviews have started the same way I want to start mine, by saying that I really have enjoyed DiCamillo's other books (Well, Mercy Watson was a piffle, but it was fine for what it was). Winn Dixie is a personal favorite. This book, however, is troubling. The illustrations and book design are fabulous, comforting, and inviting; the story moves along at a good pace and the language is strong and visual. All other aspects are brutal, bizarre, and disturbing.

I am writing this review in a way to settle the book in my mind before discussing it with a group of students at my library. I want to see what the target audience thinks. {note: they didn't think much of it. They thought Pellegrina creepy and they didn't understand the Sarah Ruth episode at all}. Adults seem to either hate it or love it.

My first problem with the book is that I am not sure children will feel any kinship with Edward. What child needs to learn to love? Love and devotion are emotions kids demonstrate early in life. They love their parents, their friends, their's only when they grow up that society tells them love is complex and has to be earned or learned. Why does Edward have to be tossed off an ocean liner, buried under garbage, crucified, and have his head shattered to "learn to love"?

Second problem: what is up with Grandma Pellegrina? Everyone else treats Edward like the toy he is. His owners and friends talk to him, but they don't seem to expect a response. No one else sees his self-involvement and lack of feelings (these are only apparent in his thoughts since he doesn't talk). Pellegrina who "was responsible for Edward's existence" seems to know his mind. "You disappoint me" she whispers to him. Is she God? Edward certainly becomes a Christ figure when he's nailed up to scare the crows. Pellegrina also says there can be no happy ending without love--Edward gets his happy ending after being chewed up and spit out by "life." So Pellegrina's words are reinforced by the book as a whole. If she is God she is a frightfully Deistic and cold version of the creator.

At first I thought this was like "The Mouse and his Child" by Hoban or "Hitty, Her First Hundred Years" by Field (in fact some say, Hitty makes an appearance at THIS book's end) but I think it has more in common with Peter Pan, another book that really doesn't fit in a child's world (Children aren't like Peter, they desperately want to grow up as quickly as possible)...this is a pointed and manipulative story created to make adults feel nostalgic for their childhood.

I also have a little trouble believing that Sarah Ruth's doll can shatter so easily and Edward can smash into the ocean from the deck of the Queen Mary, remain unbroken under mounds of garbage, and survive being kicked from a moving train...but I suppose that's a little thing.

If Anne Rice had written "The Velveteen Rabbit" ... I think this is near to what she would have come up with.
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LibraryThing member maggiereads
Quite baffled, I finished the book, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. I was looking for a fun read-aloud, full of adventure, for third through fifth graders. What I found was a story brimming with Christian symbols of Easter. Not at all what I would say a “pleasure to read aloud” unless you like the tissue inducing sniffle sound.

Our hero, Edward Tulane, is a rabbit commissioned by a grandmother for wealthy young Abilene. His china body is delicately white and hollow with beautiful fur ears and tail. His intelligent eyes shine sea-blue but his calm exterior mask a flawed personality. Edward is unable to love, instead preferring to fuss and preen with his own finery.

What makes Edward uncaring? Mistress Abilene extends quality time to him every morning. Paying extra attention to straightening his hat before leaving the house to attend school, she places Edward in the head-of-the-house chair, where he awaits her happy return. He is never alone, as she sets a pocket watch on his lap to help pass the hours. Abilene loves Edward.

Sound like a sweet unassuming story, right? I mean a child could read the book and cry a little when Sarah Ruth dies and move on. The pre-teen may never see the Christian parallels because they remain understated. Therefore, I do see the need to read it aloud between adult and child, but not to a classroom.

Author Kate DiCamillo never admits to the real nature of the book in interviews. She does state that children can handle death and it should not be a forbidden subject. She even tells reporters she wrote Edward’s story before her Newbery Medal winner, The Tale of Despereaux, but waited to publish it. She was afraid fans would not take to Edward’s plight otherwise.

With success comes confidence and DiCamillo instructed her publishers to release the book for spring, a season coinciding with Easter celebrations. If you do chose to read it with children, please scan it first alone. This will help you explain Edward’s sad body on the cross. The illustration by Bagram Ibatoulline is quite haunting.

Edward’s miraculous journey starts when he falls overboard an ocean liner in the Atlantic. It is here, where the china rabbit becomes a metaphor for man lost at sea. I do not feel Edward represents Jesus rather us sinful humans. Then again, you may read the book and decide; hey, he’s just a bunny.
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LibraryThing member BrynDahlquis
I...was not expecting this. Even though I know Kate DiCamillo is fantastic and I have enjoyed every other thing I've read by her, for whatever reason I wasn't expecting to be so touched and enthralled with Edward Tulane.

But it is so. good.

I almost cried.

Please read this.
LibraryThing member SweetKokoro
This was beautiful, sad, and heartwarming all rolled into one. Edward truly does go on a miraculous journey though life. What I truly enjoyed most was the realness of how everyone reacts differently to toys. From the little girls who loved Edward dearly to the homeless people who shared their secrets with him, and the young boy who lost is sister and then lost his one last connection to his sister. This was truly beautiful. Each character that Edward crossed paths with had a different vision for him, and it shows how one toy can really be anything depending on who currently has them.… (more)
LibraryThing member Omrythea
Well, a lot of people love this book. It seems really popular with the kids. So, this is obviously a great addition to a library collection. However, I have to say that I found the rabbit to be awfully whiny and pathetic. Edward was such an unlikable character that I had trouble caring what happened to him.
LibraryThing member phoenixcomet
Edward Tulane is a stuck up china rabbit despite being loved by his owner, Abilene. On a trans-atlantic journey, Edward flies overboard and falls to the bottom of the sea, only to be rescued by a fisherman who gives him to his wife. The fisherman's wife loves "Susannah" and Edward begins to learn to love. Over the years he travels with a hobo and his dog, and acts as a scarecrow, is stolen by a little boy and given to his dying sister, ends up broken and repaired, and ultimately coming full circle by coming home again. It's a wonderful tale of love and heartbreak, hope and dreams, and learning to love again.… (more)
LibraryThing member deannalmartin
This book is like a roller coaster ride of the life of a china rabbit. It is almost a look into what it could be like to be a foster child roaming from family to family. This books has several highs and several lows but it is definately a page turner that you won't want to put down.
LibraryThing member revslick
a beautiful tale of love and loss and love again
LibraryThing member momofthreewi
This is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read aloud to my children. It's touching, heartwarming and even heartbreaking at times. My children were riveted when we read it together and couldn't wait for reading time each night to see what would happen to Edward next. Don't miss sharing this unique, beautiful book with your own family.… (more)
LibraryThing member mgillis
A beautiful china rabbit by the name of Edward Tulane was once owned by a 10-year-old girl named Abilene. Abilene loved Edward very much. However, Edward didn't love anybody but Edward. Then, one day Abilene loses Edward and his life is changed forever.

As Edward's journey takes him from one owner to the next, he learns what it means to be lost and to lose, to be sacrificed and to sacrifice, to be loved and, finally, to love.

Nathan needed a little time alone in the mall just before Christmas so I entertained myself in Borders while I waited for him to finish his shopping. I had read some great reviews of this book so I picked it up and turned to the first page. I was almost halfway through the book when I realized I needed to go. I couldn't help myself. Really. I had to finish the book... so I got in line, paid for it and took it with me. I finished the book later that night.

It is such a wonderful children's book! The whimsical idea of an arrogant china rabbit finding out what it means to love is interwoven with the serious melancholy of Edward's loneliness and longing for home. It's clear message unpretentiously teaches readers that love is boundless and painful, and it's the only thing worth having in this world.
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LibraryThing member dfullmer
sweet tale of a ceramic rabbit that loses his owner and learns how to love.
LibraryThing member bplma
Although Edward- a china rabbit- enjoys a very comfortable existence being well loved and cared for by a wealthy young girl, he is a cold, disinterested creature, lacking in empathy and unable to feel love. Things change quickly for Edward, however, when he is lost at sea and begins his journey from one owner to another, traveling over land and through time and economic circumstance. DiCamillo pulls us into the story and we feel with edward as he travels to lonely but kindhearted fishermen and sick and poverty stricken young children; we travel the country with him, through the different locales and lives of his various owners, and as Edward's luck rises and falls, he becomes more and more empathetic and sympathetic, and more and more real. A truly remarkable story;well crafted and beautifully written. A great read aloud. Grades 2-5. 04/07.… (more)
LibraryThing member virginiahomeschooler
This is by far my favorite of Dicamillo's works. It makes a fantastic family read-aloud book. My copy is a slightly (well, maybe a little more than slightly) tear-stained, but it will always have a special place on my bookshelves.
LibraryThing member extrajoker
first line: "Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a rabbit who was made almost entirely of china."

I bought The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and read it in one night. The author, Kate diCamillo, also wrote The Tale of Despereaux (which I have read), Because of Winn-Dixie (which I have not), and a few others. This story -- about a sentient porcelain-faced toy bunny who learns to love -- touches on many dark themes (e.g., loneliness, alchoholism, death, violence), but is ultimately hopeful. The sad scenes made me cry...but then again, so did the happy ending. The smooth writing lends itself well to reading aloud (assuming you're not a sap like me whose voice will crack and fall off during the especially sad bits). And the illustrations (including several full-color plates) are beautiful.… (more)
LibraryThing member relientkatie
Edward is a very grand china rabbit who belongs to Abilene Tulane. Every night, Abilene tells Edward she loves him, but Edward doesn't feel the same about her. After being suddenly separated from his owner, Edward comes to understand what it means to love and to be loved.
I listened to this one on audio book and it was great. It's probably one of my top ten favorite books of all time. I knew how it was going to end within the first five minutes, but the conclusion was still deeply satisfying. The section about Sarah Ruth and especially her father would probably be too upsetting for very young or sensitive readers, but for those who can handle it, it would be a great read-aloud.… (more)
LibraryThing member r13
This book really made me become a DiCamillo fan. I love the fantasy of this book and how it comes around full circle. There are a lot of great life lessons in this book and it would be a great read aloud.
LibraryThing member 1morechapter
This is a wonderful story about learning to love. I listened to it on audio CD, read by Judith Ivey--who did an outstanding job. The audio is only 2 hours--so I highly recommend it even to those who are time-challenged.
LibraryThing member bibliophile26
A china rabbit's long journey to find love. Beautiful illustrations, but the story is kind of forced. My favorite book of hers will always be The Tale of Despereaux.
LibraryThing member Nikkles
This is a beautiful and achingly touching book. Clearly The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is not your typical children's book just as Edward is not your typical china Rabbit. The story is very compelling and reads beautifully silently and aloud. The illustrations are as beautiful as the story. A truly touching story that is in no way sappy or contrived.… (more)
LibraryThing member runnergirl2
an amazing, beautiful story for anyone ages 7 and up. Fantastic illustrated plates throughout. And written by a local author who has numerous award winning titles...
LibraryThing member tututhefirst
Such a beautiful story, in a beautiful book full of gorgeous and gentle illustrations. I can't wait to give this to my grand-daughter. The story is of a rabbit who learns to love and let himself be loved as he goes thru a series of (mis)adventures. It is a story absolutely bound to steal children's and adults hearts. It can be read to younger children, and then cherished by older ones. No wonder it won so many awards. It is a timeless chldren's classic that should be on every child, parent, and grandparent shelf.… (more)
LibraryThing member tamora
This is a story of a porcelin rabbit who doesn't appreciate his wonderful home until he loses it.
Although this is a children's book, this can be thoroughly enjoyed on an adult level. It has much to say about the concepts of being loved, being human,and home.
And it's a chapter book that cries out to be read aloud to a young child.… (more)
LibraryThing member guamgirl99
This book is very good. It starts out as a stuffed bunny, Edward. He can talk in his head. He is owned by a little girl. First, he gets thrown off a ship. Then he gets rescued by a fisherman. He gets taken home. There are WAY more adventures than that! Once he is homeless with a dog and an old man!! Find out if he survives in The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane! [By the way, this book made me cry!]… (more)
LibraryThing member JNSelko
When iIread this for a third grade class, you could hear a moth whisper. the illustration were also tip-top.
LibraryThing member gothydevil
An awsome book with tear-dropping avents.
This book is about a stuffed and spoiled rabbit named
Edward Tulane. But the journeys that he takes changes
who he is and he realizes that the world does not and
will not revolve around him!




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