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Once in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a rabbit that was made 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 could be bent, giving him much freedom of movement. This china rabbit was named Edward Tulane. He 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 – fallen overboard and swept down to the ocean floor where he thought he would never be found again. After 297 days, however, an amazing thing happened - Edward was caught in a fisherman’s net and so began his miraculous journey.
Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!
- Edward is repeatedly lost by those who love him. Have you ever lost something you treasured? How did you deal with it?
- The day the maid misplaces Edward, Abilene runs from room to room, calling for him. Why does Abilene loves him so much. What emotion does Edward feel in return and why?
- This book is Edward's story, but all of the people who take him in have their own stories, too. Which was your favorite story and why?
- What might happen to the characters after Edward leaves? How does Edward change their lives?
- The old doll helps Edward change his attitude and open his heart again. She tells him, "If you have no intention of loving or being loved, then the whole journey is pointless" (page 189). What does she mean? Have you ever encountered someone who changed the way you thought or looked at the world?
- What are some of the events and experiences that have shaped your life and changed you, for better or for worse?
- How and why do all adults (except Abilene's sharp-eyed grandmother, Pellegrina) condescend, or talk down, to Edward? Have you ever experienced an adult or a person older than you who condescended to you? How can you tell? Why do you think that person acted that way? How did you handle it?
- What are some of the life lessons Edward learns on his journey, through good times and bad? What life lessons have you acquired in your life that you would like to pass on to someone else?
- When the old woman hangs Edward on a pole to scare away the crows in her garden, Edward thinks, "I am done with caring." He feels mocked by the stars, which seem to say, "You are down there alone." On page 113, he tells the stars, "I have been loved," and they reply, "What difference does that make when you are all alone now?" Does it make a difference? Why does it matter to Edward that he has been loved?
These questions are a portion of the Candlewick Press Teachers’ Guide. For the full guide, see this PDF file.
Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.