What is it that draws us to Kate DiCamillo... her brilliance with words? Allegory? The sense of darkness and light that meanders through her work? The story itself?
She's done it again with the story of Peter Augustus Duchene--an orphan who visits a fortuneteller and discovers that his fate relies on an elephant that falls from the sky (the result of a magician's trick gone wrong). DiCamillo's books are perfect for drawing on a sense of questioning and inference... and just plain fun to read. So much for Peter buying fish and bread at the market (a bit Jack and the Beanstalk like)...
You must follow the elephant. She will lead you there. From that point you just want to read it aloud to someone--if not your students, your own children. There's an eeriness in this book, but it's a grand tale.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a book I read with my students to enhance our study of stamina and endurance... and this book will definitely find a place on my bookshelf.