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The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Heartless toy finds love in a cruel world.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A moving, lyrical, and for some, too emotionally effective examination of love.

Violence & scariness

A boy is slapped, a dog is kicked, and a living toy is smashed and broken.

Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a melancholy little story in which there is cruelty and misery, including a little girl who dies of consumption. Most readers, child and adult, will cry while reading it; at the most extreme, some very sensitive kids might find it too disturbing.

What's the story?

Edward Tulane is a three-foot tall toy rabbit, beautifully made, with a wardrobe of exquisite clothes. Like any toy, he cannot move or talk, but he can think. And despite being loved by a little girl, Abilene, he doesn't love anyone but himself.

Abilene's mysterious grandmother tells them a story of a princess who cannot love, and she whispers to Edward, "You disappoint me." Soon after, while on a cruise ship, Edward is thrown overboard by some mean boys, thus beginning an odyssey that carries him through many years to different owners, through humiliation and damage and pain, but enables him gradually to open his heart to others.

Is it any good?


This lovely, lyrical, almost Dickensian tale is certainly a classic in the making. How is it that, at a time when so many authors don't seem to be able to get their readers emotionally involved with their human characters, Kate DiCamillo can have her readers breathless and weeping over a toy rabbit that can neither move nor talk? This is the author's secret, and the key to why this book should last long after others have faded away.

Yes, it is at times mawkish and overwrought: The stunning cruelty of the world to a little boy named Bryce, for instance, left unresolved by the author, borders on being too much. But by that time, even jaded readers won't mind -- they'll be too swept up in the rich and powerful story, enhanced by the gorgeous drawings and paintings by Ibatoulline. The whole volume, in fact, is a treat, printed in perfectly sized type with plenty of white space on creamy paper -- a beautiful edition well worth the slightly higher hardcover price. Don't miss sharing this near-perfect bedtime book with your middle-graders, and don't be surprised if you find your older kids listening in at the doorway.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the path of growth and understanding that Edward follows.

  • What does he learn about love?

  • Why does he try, for awhile, to avoid it?

  • Why is it so important?

Book details

Author:Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator:Bagram Ibatoulline
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Candlewick Press
Publication date:March 12, 2006
Number of pages:198

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Parent of a 9 year old Written bysiemon April 28, 2011

Ms. Siemon's class review

Our class LOVED this book! Kate DiCamillo created a moving story with a good message for children. The story is about a selfish and egotistical rabbit who doesn't return love to others. Through the eyes of Edward and his many experiences, our class learned to appreciate and give love. The illustrations were creative and a good representation of the story. We would have given the book 10 stars if we were able! Our class is hoping to one day see Edward on the big screen!
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old May 20, 2011


i love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! best book ever.
What other families should know
Great role models
Teen, 17 years old Written byBlue-Bunny November 7, 2011

A timeless classic...

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is by far one of my most favorite and cherished books. It follows the story of a china rabbit named Edward Tulane who embarks on a cruel journey from owner to owner, after he is thrown overboard while his owner (Abigail) and her parents are on a cruise. Edward is a doll, but he expresses his feelings and words through thoughts. I found this book really interesting and clever and a joy to read. In fact, I was so interested, I almost couldn't put it down, so I kept reading it and finished it before the day was done. The illustrations are also beautifully-drawn and add more to the story. I recommend this to any reader.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models