An Alternate Ending in Young Adult Literature

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Making a book our own: Changing the ending of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

By Andrew Withers, Emma Withers, and Linda Withers 

Reading together has always been a priority for our family. Summer was always a favorite time to sit out on our screened back porch and read the books our grandmother had purchased. Together we were able to travel to whole new lands! One of our favorites was the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. This incredible fantasy piece takes place on Egypt Street where a young girl named Abilene takes her China rabbit on a cruise ship with her family. The fun begins when Edward is tossed overboard, sinks to the bottom of the ocean, and takes a journey where he learns the true meaning of love. This has always been a favorite book of ours, and one we have read over and over again. However, one portion of the book always bothered us, and it was the ending. In a discussion on the porch one evening, we all decided that a new ending needed to be written, and so we began.

Our first task was to determine what exactly it was we disliked about the ending. Upon a night of “porch discussion,” we narrowed it to one specific character that we felt truly needed a different fate, and our crafting began. A brief brainstorming session behind us, and a blank page ahead, we set out to change the fate of the orphan boy, Bryce. Ideas flowed as we were determined to find an ending that we had expected all along but hadn’t found…one that wrapped our story into a nice, neat bundle. After revising our copy, consulting each member of our “team” of authors, and settling on what we felt would bring the story to fruition, we found ourselves content and at peace with where we had left “our” characters…a cast consisting of a girl, an orphan, and a rabbit that had truly stolen our hearts. In an effort to let our ending speak for itself, you will find it below: (We recommend you enjoy the original ending first, but if you find yourself curious, ours is below!)

“Just as these thoughts entered Edward’s head, the tinkling of the bell on the door began to ring. In walked Bryce. “I thought I told you never to come back here, “ snapped Lucius. “I just wanted to see him again, to hold him one more time!” “Who is this?” asked Abiline. Lucius Clark replied, “Oh, just some small boy who brought the rabbit to me in the first place—with his head all broken into pieces—21 to be exact. He couldn’t pay to have him fixed, so we made a deal. I fixed him.....and now he’s mine to sell.” “But I loved him!” said Bryce, as he wiped his hand across his nose. “...and so did Sarah Ruth!” Abiline watched in great amazement as Bryce told the whole story---about how he had found Edward hanging as a scarecrow in the old woman’s garden; how Sarah Ruth loved him and was so sick and died; how she had squeezed Edward and loved him—really loved him. He explained about his mean father and that he was all alone now—wandering the streets; how Edward was really the only family he had ever had—the only person who he thought ever really loved him—besides Sarah Ruth that is. The tears began to run down both Abiline and Maggie’s cheeks as Bryce stood staring at Edward. Abiline knew what she had to do. She paid Mr. Lucius for Edward and held him herself, just like she did when she was a child. Then she took Maggie and Bryce by the hands. “Come on, “she told the three of them. “We are ALL going home.” As Edward rode in the arms of his beloved Abiline that day, he finally felt the true meaning of love—the meaning that produces miracles. And for the first time, Edward felt a tiny tear role from his painted on eyes down his beautiful china cheek. Abiline and her husband adopted Bryce that next fall, giving Maggie the brother she had always wanted.... and they all lived happily ever after—on Egypt Street of course!”

…and with that, we felt closure. We don’t ask you to love what we’ve written, and frankly we know not everyone even gave thought to the “missing piece” we felt was necessary, but what we did learn through this process was the intangible connection between author and reader. This bond we felt with Kate DiCamillo and her characters was one that not only brought a slew of emotions to our summer, but with it brought an inspiration to make the story our own.

DiCamillo, Kate. (2015). The miraculous journey of Edward Tulane. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press. Illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline.