Edward Tulane is a china rabbit given to a ten-year-old girl named Abilene by her grandmother in the 1930s. He enjoys a pleasant but vain life with his young mistress, who treats him with the utmost love and respect, until an unfortunate incident finds him falling overboard while vacationing on the RMS Queen Mary. Edward spends 297 days on the ocean floor, until a storm frees him from the seabed and a passing fisherman and his buddy pull him from their fishing net. The man takes him home to his wife where he is referred to as female and wears dresses.
Edward is passed from hand to hand of a succession of life-altering characters, such as a hobo and his dog and a four-year-old girl with tuberculosis and her brother. Edward's journeys not only take him far from home, but even farther from the selfish rabbit he once was. Eventually, Edward is cruelly broken against a counter top edge, repaired and then offered for sale in a doll store for several years. He is finally bought by Abilene, his original mistress, now married with a daughter of her own.
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