Friday, November 1, 2013

Robert Zemeckis to take The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane to the screen.

"Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely. 
And then, one day, he was lost."

That's how The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, the charming childrens' book from Kate DiCamillo begins.  Published in 2009 I missed this one (the 225 page beautifully illustrated book is recommended for ages 9 - 12); let's see, my son would have been sixteen, so nope, not on the radar. But I read the announcement today that Robert Zemeckis and Forrest Gump producer Wendy Finerman were reuniting to bring the book to the screen so I checked out the publisher's blurb ...
"Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline take us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again."
... and was intrigued so I went ahead and read as many freebie pages as allowed on B&N and it sounds and looks - besides the obvious Velveteen Rabitty comparison - lovely. 



Abilene is the little girl who owns the rabbit, a gift from her grandmother, Pellegrina. Every morning after Abilene gets herself ready for school, she dresses Edward in one of his many luxurious little silk suits and props him on a chair in a window to watch for her all day. 

The little girl's parents indulge their only child, allowing the rabbit to sit at the dining room table and repeating snippets of conversation for Edward at the little girl's request. 
"Papa," Abilene would say, "I'm afraid Edward didn't catch that last bit." 
And the father turns and talks very slowly to the rabbit, which the rabbit finds incredibly condescending.  The only adult who isn't condescending is Pellegrina, Abilene's grandmother who happens to be the person who gave the rabbit to Abilene as a present on her 7th birthday. In the few early pages I've read Grandma tucks the little girl and the rabbit into their beds every night but when Abilene asks for a story she refuses. Trouble in paradise. 



No word on whether they'll do it as live action or go the animated route. I would love to see a version featuring Ibatoulline's moody illustrations - I love the black and white ones; I'm already curious about what happens to Edward and how it impacts this little family's lives.  

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