Friday, January 22, 2010

The Magician's Elephant Came to Visit

“Grammy, do you want to read the book Uncle got me when I’m finished?” she asked. “I have to write a book report.”

Before Christmas I had seen that Kate DiCamillo had written a new book, “The Magician’s Elephant”. A couple of years earlier, my son had wanted to buy Sydney the author’s other book, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” but was told by the bookseller that he didn’t recommend it for a then 9-year-old. Then her teacher read it to the class. Sydney fell in love with the book and Kate DiCamillo. Sydney asked me to read the book. Can’t turn down a request from a grandchild.

I read this journey of Ed Tulane’s. I cried and cried as I followed him from page to page. The beautiful story was deep, inspiring. I marveled that Sydney could embrace this beautiful story so deeply causing her to cherish the book.

Then came the movie, The Tale of Despereaux. Again, Kate had written a story that made the shy brave and the weak strong. Already hooked, I became a total fan.

Last night I read the 201 pages wondering where the journey Ms. DiCamillo had offered me would end. Simple dialogue. Mental pictures coming to life. After finishing the book, sleep evaded me. The deeper meaning of the story rattled around in my groggy brain trying to take shape. The magician’s elephant had entered my head and would not leave.

What is it that draws my granddaughter to these books? Does she feel, realize the richness of the stories or does she merely read them as a tale? I know she cried when she read Edward Tulane’s tale. I am eager to talk this new story over with her today. I want to learn from her.

Books are an important part of my life. Usually I have two books going at once. One resides in my car for those times I eat alone. The other follows me around the house. Having a grandchild who loves reading as much as I do, pleases me. Having a granddaughter who wants to share her favorite books with me is awesome. Communication opens. Sharing evolves. Letting her know that she can inspire me, builds trust. It is the giving and taking that makes relationships grow more precious.

An elephant dropped into my life last night bringing with it hope, forgiveness, freedom. Kate DiCamillo. You are never too old for one of her journeys. You won’t be disappointed.

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