Something To Do

The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo and a fun Kirigami Activity

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A young boy goes to buy some fish at the market when he spies a fortune teller in a gypsy tent. Instead of fish, he got his fortune. In response to the question, how can I find my sister? The answer came swiftly and with confidence, “An elephant will lead you there”. An elephant?

So starts the story by the very acclaimed writer Kate DiCamillo.

Elephant 2

Around the same time, the very astute Madam LaVaughn went to the theater in the evening to see a magic act. The magician, only intending to make a bouquet of lilies appear, instead made a real-life elephant come tumbling down out of the ceiling and landing directly on Madam LaVaughn. Luckily she lives but is crippled. Now she is imprisoned in her wheelchair, the magician is taken to prison, the elephant is locked up in the stable and Peter, the young boy who went to buy some fish but found his fortune instead must try to meet this elephant to find his sister. Anymore I cannot tell you.

Elephant 1

Without knowing it, this lovely elephant is a catalyst for change. He opens the hearts and doors of many to an understanding of how we are connected and how each one of us holds our own magic.

Something to Do:
Make a towel elephant that will help you remember your stories! Check out this fun activity from TwentyTwoWords.


Make a Memory Box so you’ll never forget anything!
You’ll need:
a wooden case or chest
Paint of whatever color! I saw some pretty pastel yellows and blues
Black paint
Letter stencils
Paint brushes
What to do:
-Paint the chest/case your base color and let it dry overnight.
-The next day, come up with what you want to label the chest as. I went to Austria, Germany, and Switzerland this summer, so I would label it as such.
-Line your stencils up straight, you might want to use a ruler.
-Paint your letters and let dry!
*You can add decorations if you want, just let everything dry first.
-Throw every memory for this particular occasion into the box—ticket stubs, pamphlets, pictures, posters, anything! Now you’ll never forget.

Kirigami Activity: So we’ve been talking about an elephant which comes tumbling through the ceiling. That’s not any sort of magic so we can’t very well do any sort of elephant project. Today we are venturing into the world of kirigami. This is the Japanese art of paper-folding and cutting.


1. Take an 8in x 8in piece of paper

2. Fold it in half.

IMG_0017 IMG_0018

3. (photo above) Place the fold you just did on top and fold it in half again.



4. (photo above) Fold it diagonally, with the previous fold on the left.

5. Trace the elephant pattern below onto you triangle

IMG_0015 IMG_0023

Very Important Note: Do not cut off the tail, back leg or the swoop in the trunk. If for some reason you transfer the pattern on the wrong side of the triangle you will come up with an “x” of elephants,which is beautiful in it’s own right. To get the square just draw your pattern on the other side of the triangle.

Vintage swap 10 paper cutting magic elephant

You can use origami paper or scrapbook paper. I also made an elephant square out of 4inx4in origami paper and set it into my large square to make “art”.

I must give credit where it is due. Today’s art project was inspired by The Little Traveler’s.  This mom lovingly documents the journey of her two girls as the travel around the world. To explore the sights,sounds,tastes, and cultures of some beautiful countries have a look here.

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2 thoughts on “The Magician’s Elephant by Kate DiCamillo and a fun Kirigami Activity

  1. That sounds like an awesome book! I love Ms. DiCamillo’s books – I’m surprised I haven’t read it yet! 🙂

    1. Oh Erik you’ll really love this one. She is such an inventive writer. Enjoy !!!

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