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The Magician's Elephant The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Oh boy, I wanted to like this one. I adored The Tale of Despereaux Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread, I enjoyed Because of Winn-Dixie, I was fascinated with The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (and loved the illustrations), but this left me a little cold. I’ve been trying to put my finger on it, since this is on this year’s OLA Mock Newbery list and I’ll have to back up my opinion. I didn’t feel that it went deep enough – it stayed on the surface of a potentially interesting story, and that simplicity, which felt intentional, ended up feeling too much like a fable for me. I detest novel-length fables. I want characters, not archetypes. I just skimmed across the surface and thought, “pretty sentence” and waited to be caught up in the story. There were too many characters introduced too quickly and too briefly. This is, perhaps, a matter of taste. I’ll have to work on my argument before the discussion rolls around in January.

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