Once, in a house on Egypt Street,
there lived a rabbit who was made almost entirely of china.
He had china arms and china legs, china paws and a china
head, a china torso and a china nose. His arms and legs were
jointed and joined by wire so that his china elbows and china
knees could be bent, giving him much freedom of movement.
His ears were made of real rabbit fur, and beneath the
fur, there were strong, bendable wires, which allowed the ears
to be arranged into poses that reflected the rabbit's mood-jaunty,
tired, full of ennui. His tail, too, was made of real
rabbit fur and was fluffy and soft and well shaped.
The rabbit's name was Edward Tulane, and he was tall.
He measured almost three feet from the tip of his ears to the
tip of his feet; his eyes were painted a penetrating and intelligent
In all, Edward Tulane felt himself to be an exceptional
specimen. Only his whiskers gave him pause. They were long
and elegant (as they should be), but they were of uncertain
origin. Edward felt quite strongly that they were not the
whiskers of a rabbit. Whom the whiskers had belonged to initially-what
unsavory animal-was a question that Edward
could not bear to consider for too long. And so he did not.
He preferred, as a rule, not to think unpleasant thoughts.
Edward's mistress was a ten-year-old, dark-haired girl
named Abilene Tulane, who thought almost as highly of
Edward as Edward thought of himself. Each morning after
she dressed herself for school, Abilene dressed Edward.
The china rabbit was in possession of an extraordinary
wardrobe composed of handmade silk suits, custom shoes
fashioned from the finest leather and designed specifically for
his-rabbit feet, and a wide array of hats equipped with holes so
that they could easily fit over Edward's large and expressive
ears. Each pair of well-cut pants had a small pocket for
Edward's gold pocket watch. Abilene wound this watch for
him each morning.
"Now, Edward," she said to him after she was done
winding the watch, "when the big hand is on the twelve and
the little hand is on the three, I will come home to you."
She placed Edward on a chair in the dining room and
positioned the chair so that Edward was looking out the
window and could see the path that led up to the Tulane
front door. Abilene balanced the watch on his left leg. She
kissed the tips of his ears, and then she left and Edward spent
the day staring out at Egypt Street, listening to the tick of his
watch and waiting.
Of all the seasons of the year, the rabbit most preferred
winter, for the sun set early then and the dining-room
windows became dark and Edward could see his own reflection
in the glass. And what a reflection it was! What an
elegant figure he cut! Edward never ceased to be amazed at his
In the evening, Edward sat at the dining-room table
with the other members of the Tulane family: Abilene; her
mother and father; and Abilene's grandmother, who was
called Pellegrina. True, Edward's ears barely cleared the tabletop,
and true also, he spent the duration of the meal staring
straight ahead at nothing but the bright and blinding white of
the tablecloth. But he was there, a rabbit at the table.
Abilene's parents found it charming that Abilene considered
Edward real, and that she sometimes requested that a
phrase or story be repeated because Edward had not heard it.
"Papa," Abilene would say, "I'm afraid that Edward
didn't catch that last bit."
Abilene's father would then turn in the direction of
Edward's ears and speak slowly, repeating what he had just
said for the benefit of the china rabbit. Edward pretended,
out of courtesy to Abilene, to listen. But, in truth, he was not
very interested in what people had to say. And also, he did not
care for Abilene's parents and their condescending manner toward
him. All adults, in fact, condescended to him.
Only Abilene's grandmother spoke to him as Abilene
did, as one equal to another. Pellegrina was very old. She had a
large, sharp nose and bright, black eyes that shone like dark
stars. It was Pellegrina who was responsible for Edward's existence.
It was she who had commissioned his making, she who
had ordered his silk suits and his pocket watch, his jaunty hats
and his bendable ears, his fine leather shoes and his jointed
arms and legs, all from a master craftsman in her native
France. It was Pellegrina who had given him as a gift to
Abilene on her seventh birthday.
And it was Pellegrina who came each night to tuck
Abilene into her bed and Edward into his.
"Will you tell us a story, Pellegrina?" Abilene asked her
grandmother each night.
"Not tonight, lady," said Pellegrina.
"When?" asked Abilene. "What night?"
"Soon," said Pellegrina. "Soon there will be a story."
And then she turned off the light, and Edward and
Abilene lay in the dark of the bedroom.
"I love you, Edward," Abilene said each night after
Pellegrina had left. She said those words and then she waited,
almost as if she expected Edward to say something in return.
Edward said nothing. He said nothing because, of
course, he could not speak. He lay in his small bed next to
Abilene's large one. He stared up at the ceiling and listened
to the sound of her breath entering and leaving her body,
knowing that soon she would be asleep. Because Edward's
eyes were painted on and he could not close them, he was
Sometimes, if Abilene put him into his bed on his side
instead of on his back, he could see through the cracks in the
curtains and out into the dark night. On clear nights, the stars
shone, and their pinprick light comforted Edward in a way
that he could not quite understand. Often, he stared at the
stars all night until the dark finally gave way to dawn.
Excerpted from "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" by Kate DiCamillo. Copyright © 2006 by Kate DiCamillo. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.