Pub date - September 8, 2009
What if? Why not? Could it be?
When a fortuneteller's tent appears in the market square of the city of Baltese, orphan Peter Augustus Duchene knows the questions that he needs to ask: Does his sister still live? And if so, how can he find her? The fortuneteller's mysterious answer (an elephant! An elephant will lead him there!) sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that you will hardly dare to believe it’s true. With atmospheric illustrations by fine artist Yoko Tanaka, here is a dreamlike and captivating tale that could only be narrated by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo. In this timeless fable, she evokes the largest of themes — hope and belonging, desire and compassion — with the lightness of a magician’s touch. (bn.com)
So when I stopped drooling and got over the envy of such amazing writing, I immediately contacted the publicist and requested an ARC of this book. Just from reading the first chapter.
I've never read any of DiCamillo's work prior to this but I've heard great things about it. But how often does that happen, right? Opinions and all, they can differ widely. I finally got around to reading the chapter preview I picked up from BEA and holy shit did I want to kick myself for not having read it sooner.
It's such a simply told story but in that simplicity lies the magic and the wonderful prose that DiCamillo weaves her tale with. This is another one that's reminiscent of older fairy tales; it has that air of . . . superiority, but that's not the right word, just the word that fits ok right now. The tone, it's very old school, almost stilted, but it's meant to be in this type of tale. Think Neil Gaiman's Stardust but only not at all contrived and told with ease.
The drawings, just the couple included in the preview, are gorgeous and just made me want to flip through the whole book that much more eagerly.
The first chapter is so riveting yet so simple but it pulls at your heart, urging you to move forward, only there's no forward to move to because it's only the first chapter! I had to have this book and I know that anyone that likes simple, touching, eloquently told tales will fall in love with it.
Look for my review of it soon!
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