Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Magician's Elephant

This is a wonderful magical story about a little girl in an orphanage, a fortuneteller, an elephant, a countess, and a little boy trying to find his sister. It's a soothing read-aloud for parents of younger children, especially if you read together before naptime or bedtime. There's a lovely flow to the story, and parents will enjoy seeing how the pieces of the plot intersect each other. There are also several black and white illustrations (reminiscent of Brian Selznick's in The Invention of Hugo Cabret). Very comforting and sweet.

The nun recounts to Adele about her arrival to the orphanage (pp 89-90):

"Were you glad?" said Adele. "Were you glad that I came?" She knew the answer. But she asked anyway.
"I will tell you," said Sister Marie, "that before you arrived, I was sitting here in this chair, alone, and the world was dark, very dark. And then suddenly you were in my arms, and I looked down at you..."
"And you said my name," said Adele.
"Yes, I spoke your name."
"And how did you know it? How did you know my name?"
"The midwife said that your mother, before she had died, had insisted that you be called Adele. I knew your name, and I spoke it to you."
"And I smiled," said Adele.
"Yes," said Sister Marie. "And suddenly, it seemed there was light everywhere. The world was filled with light."
Sister Marie's words settled down over Adele like a warm and familiar blanket, and she closed her eyes.

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