Edward Tulane is a china rabbit that belongs to a young girl named Abilene in the 1930s. Abilene loves Edward deeply, but Edward is vain and doesn't know how to love. When Abilene's family takes a trip on the RMS Queen Mary, Edward falls overboard, and his "miraculous journey" begins. Over the course of many years, Edward belongs to a variety of unforgettable characters, and ultimately learns that loving and being loved is what makes life worth living.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
In “A Fish Named Dog,” a young child who wants a pet dog learns an important lesson from a little fish.
Read this text after chapter 10 to have students analyze character change. In this chapter, Nellie and Lawrence’s cruel daughter Lolly throws Edward in the garbage. Have students discuss how Edward felt when he first arrived at Nellie and Lawrence’s home and how the narrator in “A Fish Named Dog” feels when he first gets his new pet. Then, have students share how Edward and the narrator’s feelings changed. Ask, “How does Edward feel when he is taken from Nellie and Lawrence? How is it similar to how the narrator feels about his fish at the end of the story?” Students may share ideas about the importance of appreciating what you have.
In Caroline Pignat’s “Poppy’s Jalopy,” a speaker describes the adventures in their grandfather’s car with their Poppy.
Read this text after chapter 14 to have students discuss love and joy. In the last few chapters, Edward has spent time traveling with Bull. Have students discuss how Edward’s life with Bull is different from his life with Abilene. Then, have students discuss how the speaker in “Poppy’s Jalopy” describes the old car. Ask students to compare and contrast Edward’s feelings about living with Bull and the speaker’s feelings about driving in the jalopy. Ask, “How does Edward feel about his experiences with Bull? How is it similar to how the speaker of the poem feels about the jalopy trips they take with their grandfather?” Students may share that love is what makes these experiences joyful and meaningful.
In “I Am Offering This Poem,” a speaker offers the only thing they have: a poem and their love.
Read this text after chapter 18 to have students build on their conversation about the importance of love. In this chapter, Edward is living with Bryce and Sara Ruth. Have students discuss the many ways Bryce shows his love for his sick sister. Then, have students discuss the theme of the poem. Ask students to make connections between how Bryce and the speaker express their love. Ask, “Why did Bryce bring Edward to his sister? How is his thinking similar to why the speaker offers the poem to the one he loves?” Students may draw on the theme of love as a gift that can support people, especially in hard times.
In Thornton W. Burgess’ fable “Johnny Chuck Finds the Best Thing in the World,” a narrator describes several animals’ search for the best thing in the world.
Read this text after finishing The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane to have students think about what makes life meaningful. Have students consider Edward’s journey and the lessons he has learned about love, loss, and happiness from his various owners. Then, have students think about what the animals learn from Johnny Chuck about contentment. Ask, “How are the lessons Edward learns throughout the story similar to the lesson Johnny Chuck teaches the animals? What do these lessons reveal about the characters?” Students may share evidence that shows that choosing to be happy allows the characters to find meaning in their lives.