I read a lot of children's/teen literature for my job as a reference librarian on the youth services team. A booktalk is an effort to get a young reader to pick up the book and read it. It's not a book review - it's more like a brief sales pitch. My goal is to write the booktalks (as soon as I've read the books) and to make them accessible to my colleagues, parents, and other readers.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Booktalk: The Magician's Elephant [Kate DiCamillo; 2]
[Show cover]. The magician messed up. I mean, this magician really, really blew it. You know how magicians can make a bouquet of flowers appear out of nowhere? Well, this magician intended to produce a bouquet of lilies, but instead he inadvertently conjured up an elephant who fell from the sky, landed on a lady in the audience, and broke both her legs, crippling her. Huge, huge mistake! The magician ended up in jail. But the elephant didn't disappear on anything. The elephant is real, and he meets with a sad fate: he ends up chained up in a room in a rich lady's house, all alone. There's a young boy, Peter, who is all alone, too, in this story. Peter is not literally chained up, but he's chained up in other ways. An old soldier, who is not Peter's father, owns Peter. Peter is sort of a lonely young servant. And one day he disobeys his master and goes to a fortuneteller. The fortuneteller tells Peter something which could change his whole life --- and, not to give anything away --- could change the life of this poor, lonely elephant. Can a huge mistake result in something wonderful? The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo.
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo. 201 p. Candlewick, 2009. Booktalk to intermediate grades [3rd-5th] and to middle school.