Being an avid reader since childhood, I was shocked and ashamed to admit to myself that I had never heard of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo. When I agreed to review it for the Mom2Mom blog here at Childsplay, my first thoughts were “Oh, it’s kind of like The Velveteen Rabbit, I guess.” Aside from the surface fact that the main character is a talking toy rabbit, I couldn’t have been further from the truth!
Edward Tulane reached me—me, a rational, logical adult!—deeper than nearly any other children’s story ever has. This magical, simple tale drew me in, causing me to completely suspend disbelief about the inanimate becoming real. Dwayne Hartford, the playwright, or Childsplay, could have just done the rabbit’s character as a voice-over, but the presence of Kyle Sorrell added so much to the play. He completely conveyed the idea of Edward’s wanting to move, wanting to be heard, and the frustration from being moved around by others, and having others put words in his mouth. Kyle’s musical skills were darn impressive as well, and the haunting melodies were a perfect complement to the action.
Katie McFadzen, Debra Stevens and David Dickinson were the perfect ensemble cast, letting the audience to live many lives during the performance. The revolving stage and set pieces were sparse enough to allow for our imagination to kick in, much like building castles and forts and space ships with cardboard boxes and being convinced you are in what you built. With subtle yet encompassing backdrops and lighting, the ambiance was ideal to every setting of the play. You all truly made Edward, the toy, and Edward, the book, come alive.
My 9 year old daughter was amazed by how many rabbits were used in the course of the play…even more so when I showed her how they were made by the 3-D printer on layers and layers of plastic! Her favorite part was when Edward is first gifted to the little girl in the beginning—I’m sure it reminded her of receiving such an exciting present. My favorite part (if I have to pick ONE) was the bedtime story worthy of adults, delivered by the girl’s grandmother. We certainly enjoyed the handout of the shadow puppets, and have had much fun with them since we got home!