Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo’s eagerly awaited new novel, The Magician’s Elephant (Candlewick, Sept.), illustrated by Yoko Tanaka, continues to move forward. This week Candlewick revealed the cover art and announced a hefty first printing of 500,000 copies for the 208-page fable, in which a boy who learns from a fortuneteller that not only is his sister alive but an elephant will take him to her.

As part of the promotion, says Laura Rivas, manager of marketing, publicity and events at Candlewick, the company created a widget of the first chapter of The Magician’s Elephant, which booksellers can place on their Web sites. In addition, the company is planning its

Kate DiCamillo.

most extensive tour yet for DiCamillo: 10 cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle, Nashville and Houston. And in a Candlewick first, DiCamillo will host a Webcast with The Magician’s Elephant book groups for National Reading Group Month in October. The company also printed 40,000 chapbooks with the first chapter, in addition to galleys, which will be available next month.To date, five co-editions have been lined up for an international laydown date of September 8.

Heather Doss, children’s merchandise manager at Bookazine, is one of the few booksellers to have read the full novel, which she describes as “awesome,” and is planning a large initial buy. She finds it more philosophical than DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux -- more like a children’s version of Life of Pi.