Narrative stories for kids: The Magician’s Elephant


The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo is one of the Reading Kingdom’s recommended narrative stories for kids. Melissa Young explains why:

What You Need to Know:

• The Magician’s Elephant is another triumph from award-winning author, Kate DiCamillo – truly a breathtaking piece of literature.

• Please be sure your reader is mature enough to understand and appreciate this mulit-layered and multi-faceted story. Much is lost if it is read by an inexperience reader without guidance.

• Read together it is a gorgeous read-aloud and will give you many fascinating points of discussions for you and your young reader.

• While I didn’t mark any concerns above in Subject Matter, I would like to alert you to the fact that our protaganist is orphaned and living with a questionable guardian, and old soldier suffering from either dementia or PTSD. If your child is a worrier, this may make a better shared reading experience.


The Magician’s Elephant begins with Peter Augustus Duchene, an orphan, on an errand to buy fish and bread for himself and his guardian, an old soldier named Vilna Lutz. When Peter sees a fortune teller, he can’t help himself, and uses all his money not to buy rations, but to buy a reading from the fortune teller. Peter just has to find out if his sister is alive, as he suspects.

… DiCamiilo takes untraditional elements and interesting characters and weaves a story of pure lyrical splendor. While I am not given to waxing on about language, DiCamillo is a master. She has produced not only an exciting story that will have your reader entranced, she has done so with language that literally sings off the page. Her descriptions make you feel as though you are literally watching the action. I really can’t say enough about this book.”

Have your children read The Magician’s Elephant? What did they think of the book?

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