The Magician's Elephant

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The Magician's Elephant
The Magician's Elephant.jpg
First edition
AuthorKate DiCamillo
IllustratorYoko Tanaka
CountryUnited States
GenreChildren's novel
PublishedSeptember 8, 2009 Candlewick Press
Media typeHardcover
Pages208 pp.
Preceded byMercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes 

The Magician's Elephant is the thirteenth book written by American author Kate DiCamillo. It was released on September 8, 2009 and illustrated by Yoko Tanaka.

Plot introduction[edit]

The young orphan Peter Augustus Duchene has many questions, but there is one he wishes most answered: "Is his sister still alive? And if so, how he can find her?" The answer he finds from the fortuneteller in the market square of the city of Baltese is one he has to learn to believe. "An elephant! An elephant will lead him there!"


  • Peter Augustus Duchene is a boy who lost his mother and father. He is in training to become a soldier by his guardian, Vilna Lutz. He promised his mother he would take care of his sister. He is really smart and caring. He believes that the elephant will lead him to his sister.
  • Vilna Lutz is a soldier who was Peter's father's friend and marched beside him. He is Peter's guardian and tells him that his sister is dead.
  • Adele is Peter's younger long-lost six-year-old sister. Her mother dies right after she is born. She grows up not knowing her brother and living in at the Orphanage of the Sisters of Perpetual Light, where she dreams about an elephant coming to get there. In the end, she is reunited with Peter.
  • The Magician made the elephant appear from the ceiling, though he claims he only intended lilies. He goes to prison for handicapping Madam LaVaughn with his elephant and looks to a star which is actually Venus. In the end, he is married to a toothless woman and it is revealed his name is Frederick.
  • Leo Matienne is a police officer and lives in the apartment below Vilna Lutz's apartment. He lives with his wife, Gloria, and although he is unable to have any children of his own, he ends up adopting Peter and Adele.
  • Madam LaVaughn is a woman whose legs are broken by the elephant which is summoned by the magician. She ends up forgiving him.
  • Hans Ickman is Madam LaVaughn's manservant. He recalls having a dog which could jump across a river, but cannot remember the name.
  • Tomas is a beggar who owns the blind dog, Iddo. He is known for his singing.
  • Bartok Whynn used to sculpt gargoyles until he fell off, which made him hunch over. He has a spontaneous tendency to laugh, and he works as the caretaker for the elephant.


A recurring theme in the book is "coming of age."


Stage adaptation[edit]

A stage musical version by Nancy Harris and Marc Teitler will make its world premiere at the Royal Shakespeare Company during their winter 2020 season.

Film adaptation[edit]

It was reported in 2009 that Fox planned to adapt The Magician's Elephant into a film to be produced by Julia Pistor.[1]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Fox rides 'Elephant' - Variety". Retrieved 2020-02-24.