If you're looking for a book about love for Valentine's Day, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better choice than The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, which goes on sale, appropriately, on Feb. 14. This latest story by Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo revolves around an elegant china rabbit named Edward who belongs to a girl named Abilene and lives in an extremely elegant household. He has a wardrobe of handmade silk suits, custom leather shoes and an attitude to match. He is an utter snob, disdainful of most everything; his heart is as cold as the china of which he is made. You disappoint me, Abilene's grandmother tells Edward. She had him commissioned, but she doesn't like what he has become. So one night she tells a story about a princess who loved no one and cared nothing for love, even though there were many who loved her. Deep in his cold heart, Edward knows the story is for him.
And so Edward's journey begins, as he, Abilene and her family board a ship, the Queen Mary. On deck some mean boys begin playing catch with Edward, and he ends up going overboard, deep into the sea. There he's caught in a fisherman's net, and taken to the first of many new homes. To Edward's complete horror, the fisherman's wife calls him Susanna and dresses him like a girl. In his new home, however, his heart begins to stir. Later Edward is thrown into a dump and adopted by a hobo named Bull, who calls Edward Malone. As the rabbit is tossed from one owner to the next, he comes to learn what it was like to miss someone. DiCamillo's newest offering is full of lovely, stately language, a riveting plot and a message that is heartwarming without being preachy. Fans of Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux will not be disappointed.
Rounding out this magnificent book are gorgeous illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline. At the beginning of each chapter are small duotone illustrations, plus 10 full-color, lavish plates. Drink them in; they are particularly pleasing in this day and age when simple, childlike art seems all too often the rage.
DiCamillo's plot will keep you riveted, reminding you of other wonderful fairy tales, especially those of Hans Christian Andersen. This tale has destined to be a classic written all over it, and it lives up to its great promise.