Kate DiCamillo will not disappoint loyal fans with her latest tale.  Weaving together the lives of several seemingly unrelated characters as only she can, DiCamillo presents a story of hope and forgiveness.  The orphaned Peter Duchene has always believed his infant sister Adele was stillborn until a fortuneteller predicts that an elephant will lead him to his long lost sibling.  Indeed, an elephant does appear, at the request of a proud and incompetent magician, and crushes the legs of an elderly woman when it arrives.  While the magician languishes in jail, Peter and his sister separately dream of having a family.  With the help of Leo Matienne, a childless police officer, they find each other and a new home.

DiCamillo has a unique ability to present apparently desperate situations to children in such a way that they never lose hope of a happy resolution.  Her characters’ dialogue is clever and full of depth.  Her message of optimism, daring and magnanimity should appeal to readers of all ages.  This book could be read to younger children.

Jennifer Minicus

Jennifer Minicus lives in New Jersey with her husband and son. A former French, Latin and mathematics teacher, Jennifer currently enjoys the responsibilities of a "domestic engineer", particularly making...