The illustrations, by the way, are stunning. The gray-scale drawings by Bagram Ibatoulline translated beautifully to the Kindle verion. Except for the color cover, I didn't feel the print book had any advantage as far as illustrations.
DiCamillo has the such a deft touch, I could see where she was stacking the deck in the story, but at the same time, she dealt the cards with such skill I didn't care. Since the protagonist is a child's toy, she had to make a choice how far into spec fic territory she would go; she doesn't pull a Toy Story. Edward the rabbit cannot move even a tiny bit. He can speak to dolls but not to humans, which means he says very little during the story. We hear his thoughts but not him speaking as he gradually learns how to love.
I noticed that the book had a high rating but still had a fair number of low-star reviews:
What about you? Would you give a book aimed at children (The Book List review says second to sixth grade) to an 8-year-old if the book was as sad as Old Yeller?
Would you give a really sad book to a kid?
only to a child older than 10
only to a child older than 12
it depends entirely on the kid
of course; children should not be spared from sadness
something else I will put into a comment