Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator: Bagram Ibatoulline
Edward Tulane is a china rabbit who belongs to a little girl named Abilene. While her family is traveling by ship, Edward is accidentally thrown overboard, where he reflects on his life with Abilene and how he never returned her affection. Eventually Edward is found and taken home by a fisherman and learns to observe his owners and pick up on their emotion. Many years of accidents lead Edward eventually to the shelf of a doll maker. Through this rough life, Edward learns that the true meaning of life lies with the people you love. After years of missing Abilene, Edward is amazed when she walks into the store, recognizes him, and purchases him for her own young daughter, who Edward loves with enthusiasm and wisdom.
Kate DiCamillo manages to capture a lifetime of character development in such a short novel by keeping the story to the main plot line. This linear story allows even young readers to track what is happening as they follow Edward along his journey. The book is formatted in a way that lends itself to be used with young readers ready to tackle early chapter books, either by themselves or as a read aloud. Short chapters give a sense of progress and obvious breaking points to stop, review, and begin again. This book builds on the simple themes of kindness and friendship, developing them into love, sacrifice, and hope. These themes and emotions are so universal that any reader is sure to recognize them in themselves.