One of the great joys of being an arts reporter is the occasional surprise package that shows up in the mailbox. Often it contains stuff not worth a mention, but today I opened one up to find an uncorrected proof of “The Magician’s Elephant,” Kate DiCamillo’s latest work. It’s the story of an orphan boy in search of his sister, and a strange fortune that sends him on an even stranger journey.
Flipping through, I found this lovely bit of prose, which I thought you might like:
She dreamed that she was flying high over the world, her habit spread out on either side of her like dark wings.
She was terribly pleased because she had always, secretly, deep within her heart, believed that she could fly. And now here she was, doing what she had long suspected she could do, and she could not deny that it was gratifying in the extreme.
Sister Marie looked down at the world below her and saw millions and millions of stars and thought, I am not flying over the earth at all. Why, I am flying higher than that. I am flying over the tops of the stars. I am looking down at the sky.
And then she realized that no, no, it was the earth that she was flying over, and that she was looking not at the stars but at the creatures of the world, and that they were all, they were each – beggars, dogs, orphans, kings, elephants, soldiers – emitting pulses of light.
The whole of creation glowed.
The Magician’s Elephant is published by Candlewick Press and appears on bookshelves this September.