The Magician's Elephant
  • The Magician's Elephant
  • The Magician's Elephant

The Magician's Elephant

3.9 332
by Kate DiCamillo, Yoko Tanaka

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When ten-year-old orphan Peter Augustus Duchene encounters a fortune teller in the marketplace one day and she tells him that his sister, who is presumed dead, is in fact alive, he embarks on a remarkable series of adventures as he desperately tries to find her.  See more details below


When ten-year-old orphan Peter Augustus Duchene encounters a fortune teller in the marketplace one day and she tells him that his sister, who is presumed dead, is in fact alive, he embarks on a remarkable series of adventures as he desperately tries to find her.

Editorial Reviews

When a fortuneteller sets up shop in the market square of Baltese, one earnest young man is among her first customers. Peter Augustus Duchene doesn't dawdle over his romantic future or his past lives; he wants to know whether his sister lives and, if so, can he bring her safety. The fortuneteller's answers are puzzling. She assures him that an elephant will lead him to his beloved lost sibling, a promise that leaves him waiting for a solution that might not come. An absorbing story about hope and persistence by the Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo. Now in paperback and NOOKbook.

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.13(w) x 7.63(h) x 0.50(d)
730L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

The Magician's Elephant

By Kate DiCamillo
Copyright © 2009

Kate DiCamillo
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780763644109

Peter stood in the small patch of light making its sullen way through the open flap of the tent. He let the fortuneteller take his hand. She examined it closely, moving her eyes back and forth and back and forth, as if there a whole host of very small words inscribed there, an entire book about Peter Augustus Duchene composed atop his palm.

“Huh,” she said at last. She dropped his hand and squinted up at his face. “But, of course, you are just a boy.”

“I am ten years old,” said Peter. He took the hat from his head and stood as straight and tall as he was able. “And I am training to become a soldier, brave and true. But it does not matter how old I am. You took the florit, so now you must give me my answer.”

“A soldier brave and true?” said the fortuneteller. She laughed and spat on the ground. “Very well, soldier brave and true, if you say it is so, then it is so. Ask me your question.”

Peter felt a small stab of fear. What if after all this time he could not bear the truth? What if he did not really want to know?

“Speak,” said the fortuneteller. “Ask.”

“My parents,” said Peter.

“That is your question?” said the fortuneteller. “They are dead.”

Peter’s hands trembled. “That isnot my question,” he said. “I know that already. You must tell me something that I do not know. You must tell me of another -- you must tell me . . . “

The fortuneteller narrowed her eyes. “Ah,” she said. “Her? Your sister? That is your question? Very well. She lives.”

Peter’s heart seized upon the words. She lives. She lives!

“No, please,” said Peter. He closed his eyes. He concentrated. “If she lives, then I must find her, so my question is, how I do I make my way there, to where she is?”

He kept his eyes closed; he waited.

“The elephant,” said the fortuneteller.

“What?” he said. He opened his eyes, certain that he had misunderstood.

“You must follow the elephant,” said the fortuneteller, “she will lead you there.”


Excerpted from The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo Copyright © 2009 by Kate DiCamillo. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Magician's Elephant 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 332 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Magician's Elephant By: Kate Dicamillo Peter is just trying to get the answer to the simple question, "Does she live?" What Peter does not know is that this one question will lead him on a search for his missing sister. His mom trusted him to keep his sister safe but the he had to let her go. On an errand he found a fortuneteller and asked her. The fortuneteller said to follow the elephant. Then when an unexpected visitor comes to town, peter figures out the way. The suspenseful chapters make you feel like you cannot put the book down. The clever descriptions draw a very clear picture in your mind. It is easy to see the gloomy snow covered days that spread across the town day after day and the beggar with his black dog Iddo. The elephant, magician, and Madam La Vaughn, all play very important rolls to help tell the reader that you can trust others. All these characters join together to help the elephant go home and Peter find his sister. It was very difficult for Madam to help and join with the magician that crippled her legs. What does she choose? (Published by candlewick press, copyright 2009) Recommended for ages 7 - 12
greekmeee More than 1 year ago
i loved this book i read it like 10 times lol i loved the tale of desperaux so i thought "hey i guess i will read this one too" well good thing i did haha. i think this book is good for ppl at the ages of about 7 to 11 0r 12
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kate DiCamillo has written another outstanding book! The Magician's Elephant is a story about hope, belonging, and forgiveness. One can easily identify with each character in her book and their struggles in life! A little boy longs to find his "lost" sister and to belong to someone and be loved. A childless couple longs to have children. A magician longs to be recognized and noticed for extraordinary magic. An elephant who is "homesick" longs to return home. All of us want to feel loved, noticed, and that we "belong" to someone. This is what makes us human. Kate DiCamillo not only appeals to children, but to adults as well. This book was a page turner and I read it in one day!
Christopher_C More than 1 year ago
Kate DiCamillo's newest novel the Magician's Elephant is a hauntingly beautiful tale with rich characters that focus on hope and making the impossible possible. The mood lavishly set with DiCamillo's writing style and Yoko Tanaka's brilliant illustrations. Young Peter lives with an old soldier that knew his father when they were in battle together. When sent to the market to get bread and fish, Peter uses his only money to ask a fortuneteller if his sister is still alive. He receives a mysterious answer about following an elephant and is shocked to later discover an elephant was conjured up accidentally by a magician during his recent performance. With the help of a policeman named Leo, Peter sets out to rescue the elephant and find is sister
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How many pages is this book? Someone please answer :)
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
This book was entertaining, but at first, I thought I might not like it - there was no introduction to the characters - they just came alive with a big bang. Not as good as The Tale of Despereaux", but still good reading.
JennJR More than 1 year ago
I bought two copies of this book and liked almost as much as the nine year old I bought it for. This book is not only good to help bridge learning vocabulary and reading vocabulary, but the story in itself is great for everyone in the family. I've actually recommended this book to my adult friends to read.
Lindsey_Miller More than 1 year ago
As always, DiCamillo introduces her readers to a beautiful world full of interesting characters. Not quite the allegorical social commentary of The Tale of Despereaux, The Magician's Elephant is still an engaging journey through what seems to be a small European town at the turn of the century. The magic is not an end to itself, but rather is the catalyst in bringing about a chain of events that cause various characters to shift from their comfort zones and move onto something greater. In this way, DiCamillo is subtle, but powerful, and it can be both a fun book for younger readers as well as a book with multiple layers for older ones. I recommend this book to all readers 8+. -Lindsey Miller,
Jenny More than 1 year ago
A heartfelt, timeless fable about the power of wonder and the magic of "What if?". DiCamillo's been working in the style of faux fairytale since Desperaux, and the lessons she's learned in her previous books help here: she keeps it short, sweet, and to the point. I feel, as the people of Baltese say, as though I were in the presence of the elephant.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book when i was in 5th grade and it was a good read. Although i think that a 6th grader would enjoy the book more. It can be a little slow at first but once one gets into the story it is difficult to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny and a very high vocabulary(6th grade) good book for teachers to read to their students
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a really good!!! Recommend that 4-6 grade read it...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kate DiCamillo stories never disappoint. I love them all!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read three other kKate DicCammilo books and totally loved and gave them a thumbs up! I have added this book to my wishlist and hope to read it soon. I have never thought anout a favorite author but DiCamillo has outdone herself on other books and i think this book will also be great i think she might be my favorite author she has talent and i enjoy every word in her books!!!!!!!!!! This book i think is a wonderfull fantabulous must read book!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good but so not worth the money it is only 89 pages of pure boring I suggest you to read instead harry potter
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book is great i think you should buy it read it 2 times you should buy it great for 10 and up it is SOOO!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was great & hard to put down. I liked it a lot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ya pretty good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, I never thought it wwould be this good. I read it day in and day out ebery spare moment. Im really getting into it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago