105 Ways to Give a Book

Tulane Readers Theatre

Yesterday started off bleak. My younger daughter had lost a ring at school and was sad about it. My older daughter was having some friend problems. I’d been sucked into a situation helping a neighbor that was turning out to be quite involved. American Idol turned out to be quite depressing. (Did they always focus so much on the people crying as they left the audition? Brutal.) I was on my sixth day of a hacking cough, and I did not complete my winter clothes transfer.

But then this little search string lifted my spirits, and its name was “readers theatre the miraculous journey of edward tulane.”

If you read my blog at all, you’ll know how very, very wrong it was for this search to lead to MotherReader. I couldn’t dislike a book more than that bunny book, so the very idea of me having a readers theatre version of it was just funny.

But then I thought, what if I did have a readers theatre version of it? Especially with the possibility that the book will turn up on the Newbery awards list. At that point, I couldn’t stop myself, even if I had wanted to. So, I present:

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane: Readers Theatre
(But not really, because Kate DiCamillo would never sanction this version given that she probably likes her own book and might object to the satirical quality and occasional — but necessary — profanity)

Girl: Oh, I love you so much, pretty china rabbit!

Edward: I am much too vain to respond to your feelings of love.

Girl: Yeah, only I can’t hear your thoughts, so I believe that you love me too.

Grandmother: I think I shall tell you and your bunny a horrifying tale. It’s about a princess who was beautiful, but didn’t love anyone. She was turned into a warthog, killed, sliced open, and eaten. The end.

Girl: Wow, Grandmother, that story sucked. At least I love you, Edward, and I always will — meaning that if anything happens to you I will feel awful, really really awful.

Edward: Whatever.

Boys: Can we see your china rabbit? And perhaps inadvertently throw him overboard?

Girl: Noooooooooo!

Edward: Shit.

Girl: I’m heartbroken. I feel really, really awful.

See the rest “below the fold”!

Edward: I’m underwater. I am fully conscious and afraid, but unable to help myself in any way at all. I just wait for fate to toss me around. Curse that Winnie-the-Pooh, Raggedy Ann, and all those other toys who could actually move themselves. Not me, I just sit here on the bottom of the ocean scared and alone waiting, waiting, waiting. Oh, look — I am being scooped up.

Fisherman: What the…? I’ll take this toy bunny home to my crazy wife.

Wife: I’ll dress the bunny up in girl clothes, and fawn over it like a baby. I’ll tell it stories about my poor dead son who died in front of me and I couldn’t do anything about it.

Edward: I actually care about these stories. I guess when you’ve been on the bottom of the sea, anything seems better. Even continuing this book…

Daughter: I’ve come to take you away from the Fisherman and his Wife, because I’ve got nothing better to do then torment my mom. To the dump you go.

Edward: I think I feel something in my heart. After being loved, dumped in the ocean, and being loved again. I think… I’m starting to — No, it’s just gas. Oh, now I’m being buried alive under the trash, fully aware of what it means to be dead but not being able to die. Why hasn’t someone written a children’s book about this feeling?

Dog: Woof. I’m going to grab you and shake you.

Hobo: Hey, what’s this? A lost toy. You and your little girl must be very sad, just like everyone reading this book. I’ll take you with me for the next seven years.

Train Man: You shouldn’t be in here. But rather than kick you out with the china rabbit, I’ll throw the rabbit off first, for no real reason at all.

Edward: I want to cry, but then I’d be allowed some release from this purgatory to which I’ve been damned for my crime of… hold it, what was my crime?

Old Lady: Interesting rabbit. I need a scarecrow. I think I’ll nail him to a cross. Not like that means anything.

Boy: Jeez, what is that rabbit doing up there? I’ll take him home to my dying sister and my drunk, abusive father.

Sister: Cough. Cough. Rabbit. Baby. Pretty.

Boy: Okaaaaay. You are four years old — you can talk.

Father: Let me hit you across the mouth, boy.

Boy: Sarah loves that bunny. Too bad she’s going to die.

Father: She did die, while you were begging her to keep breathing. I’m going to bury her.

Edward: I’m so fucking depressed.

Boy: I’m leaving with the rabbit, and I’ll earn money by making him dance.

Edward: I’ve learned how to love and now I’m broken. Man, this sucks.

Boy: Let’s get something to eat. Oops, I can’t pay.

Café Owner: You can’t pay, so I’ll break your china rabbit, not because it will help me get any money, but because all adults are mean and/or useless.

Edward: True dat. Isn’t it ironic what I said back there about being broken? Because I meant it figuratively, but apparently that didn’t drive the point home so you’re going to actually break — Oh, that hurts.

Salesman: I fixed you, rabbit. You were dead and apparently on your way to china rabbit heaven, when I fixed you. I took you from the boy in a grave sacrifice on his part whereby I would fix you if I could keep you. No adult would make that kind of shitty deal, but he’s just a stupid kid.

Boy: Please let me see him one last time. It breaks my heart to leave, but you said I can’t have him.

Salesman: No you can’t, and you can never come back.

Edward: Heartbreak again. Big surprise. How long is this story?

Doll: You have to open your heart to be loved. That’s a lesson that all kids need since they are such cynical creatures. Oh, wait, no. That’s adults who are hardened and cynical. Kids don’t need lessons in opening their hearts to love. Remind me, why is this a kids’ book again?

Edward: All right! My heart is open already! I’ve been thrown in the ocean, tossed in the garbage, chucked off a train, nailed to a cross, watched a little girl die, been broken into pieces, taken from the last person who loved me, and stuffed on a shelf for years! And may I remind you that I am fully conscious of this entire experience but helpless to change my course of action one tiny bit. My God, enough already!!!!

Girl, Grown Up: Edward, I found you.

Edward: I love you. I just wish I could have said it in the beginning of the book so we wouldn’t have had to go through all this crap.

Girl, Grown Up: Yeah, only I still can’t hear your thoughts so I always thought you loved me back anyway and never had any problems with it. So I don’t even know what the point was of all that torture.

Edward: Neither do I, kid. Neither do I.


Elaine Magliaro said...

Tooooo Funny!!!

If I had it within my power, I would award your Readers Theater version of THE MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF EDWARD TULANE the "Mock" Newbery Award. Yes, next year we should hold this kind of MOCK Newbery contest.

Little Willow said...

Ha ha ha ha ha!
And some more: brew ha ha!

Have you read Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy? Now THAT's where it's at.

Anonymous said...

o goodness. that was priceless. thanks.

and, yes, OF COURSE you will be interviewed. mwahahahahahahaha. evil laugh. we'll even add questions just for you if you want.

Anonymous said...

Well, you really did have me laughing out loud. You get my vote for the 2006 "Mock" Newbery Award.

Jennifer Schultz said...

Virtual standing ovation for that one.

Grace Lin said...

that was hilarious! Yes,definitely the MOCK Newbery Gold sticker.

Anonymous said...

HA! That is brilliant! So much better than the real thing. Thank you for totally making my week.

And I second Jules - you are so totally on the interview list.

Nancy said...

that. was. beautiful

Michele said...

I haven't read TMJoET as yet - I've not been able to bring myself to do it, but this still made me laugh my socks off - thanks !

Anonymous said...

Like Michele, I haven't been inspired to read Edward Tulane. But I still thought that your Reader's Theater was hilarious! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Too funny! I am a big fan of Tulane and DiCamillo in general but I still laughed out loud at this Readers Theatre! Brilliantly amusing!

Did you see that Anderson's chose Tulane as their winner in their Mock Newbery?

Jackie Parker said...

Holy Hilarity!

Reminds me of Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, but I could just be remembering the horrid book talk I was subjected to in Library School. It was 20 minutes long, and I'm still afraid of the book.

Bkbuds said...

Oh, thank you, thank you for saving me the trouble of reading that book. It's been reproaching me from my shelf for months now. I owe you.

Jennie said...

Oh, Thank You.

I loved DiCamillo's prose, but why o why o why is that a children's book?

Anonymous said...

That was awesome. I just read the book - hated it and was appalled that a parent was reading it to my daughter's third grade class - and I came across your satire. You are very talented.

Silvergirl said...

Thank you. Your wit made me laugh about what is possibly the most brutally, pointlessly sad childrens book ever! It's a first grade read-aloud at my kids' school. Teachers say it has a happy ending. Hmmmmm . . . is it happy for Bryce? I especially hated how powerless the good-hearted characters were, while whimsically cruel people ruled the world.
If I write a book about a completely paralyzed, mute child who gets ripped away from foster home after foster home, will that win awards as long as the writing is rich and the illustrations beautiful?

Anonymous said...

Kate DiCamillo is a gifted writer and this book is one of her best. Although I appreciate your sense of humor, I disagree with your assessment of the book. I have read this book to my students (third graders) for many years in a row and it inspires great book talks and higher level thinking. It is a very serious book, with very serious subject matter, but these are real-life things that many children are dealing with in their own lives (whether we like to think about it or not).