The big book review sites don't often pass along reviews of children's books. So when they do, it has to be a very noteworthy book.
Powells passes along a review of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo from The Christian Science Monitor. On the surface this book appears to be cut out of the same mold as The Velveteen Rabbit. But Edward Tulane is not a wholly sympathetic toy rabbit and the complexities of his journey make this a very different tale.
There's much about the story DiCamillo has chosen to write that could border on the saccharin. Loss and longing are two prominent themes, as is love itself, which Edward comes to appreciate, even feel, as his travels introduce him to a cast of lovely characters.
But DiCamillo keeps a tight hand on the reins: The focus stays on Edward's gradual awakening, which is not only adroitly rendered, but palatably sweet.
At first, Edward selfishly resists his transformation, but as his world opens up, his heart inevitably does, too. Later, he resists loving for different reasons: It's too painful. He's lost too much. But DiCamillo comes to the rescue with wise words from a fellow lost-toy soul -- and a somewhat anticipated, but still perfect, happy ending.
Everything about this book is beautiful: text, art, and the melding of text and art. Bagram Ibatoulline's sepia-toned drawings and full-color plates lend extra poignancy.