Parents' Guide to

The Magician's Elephant

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Magical, inspirational story perfect for reading aloud.

The Magician's Elephant Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 8+

Brilliant Author

There are no words to adequately describe brilliance of Kate DeCamillo. Poetic, symbolic, deep, but humorous and not heavy handed, altlhough it isn't a light read. She doesn't shy away from difficult or dark themes at times. She tells a great story. My sixteen year old is reading it again, for the third time. Equally a joy to read for adult and kid alike. It's just great literature.

This title has:

Great messages
age 8+

Kate DiCamillo is such a lovely storyteller...

Her books are always a joy to read aloud, and this one is no exception. This story is absurd in the best way, and DiCamillo makes heartwarming poetry of it. Sensitive children might initially struggle with the treatment of the elephant, but the story has a happy ending, even when "happy" for certain character(s) only means that they come to terms with what life has dealt them.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6):
Kids say (6):

Curious characters and wonderful lessons carry this heartfelt fable to a new level. The Magician's Elephant makes a great read-aloud, and different characters will resonate with different members of the family. Parents will probably enjoy Bartok Whynn and his new lease on life or the singing beggar and his dog. Kids will enjoy Sister Marie and Adele and their dreams. And all animal lovers will cheer when Peter promises to help the elephant. Then there's the policeman and his kindly wife, who want children and can't have them. You'll even want to spend more time with the silly socialite who houses the elephant and crazy Vilna Lutz who insists on Peter eating old bread to toughen him up for military life. Once all these lives intertwine, the story is over faster than the elephant appeared in the opera house, making The Magician's Elephant easily enjoyed over and over.

Tanka's illustrations are dark and shadowy but warm and atmospheric. The personalities of author Kate DiCamillo's odd assortment of characters come through.

Book Details

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