A girl learns that practice makes magic in author/illustrator Zadek’s (Monsieur Pierre, 2017, as Anne Dana) picture book.
Houdini Carini, the Caucasian daughter of stage magicians, can’t wait to be a magician herself. But when her parents give her a massive magic-trick encyclopedia, her first thought is, “This will take WAAAY too long.” She decides to perform a card trick, but instead of practicing it, she rehearses taking a bow; her resulting performance produces card chaos. Undeterred, she picks out another trick for show and tell, but lack of preparation results in hamsters all over the classroom; one of Zadek’s brightly colored ink-and-watercolor illustrations shows humorous expressions on the children’s faces. After another half-understood trick floods the streets with water (in a wordless, two-page spread), Houdini is miserable. She then accepts her mother’s challenge to master a trick from the encyclopedia’s beginning, and she finally realizes the value of practice. Overall, young readers will find Houdini’s enthusiasm relatable, and the expressive illustrations reveal both her actions and her emotions; they also show an array of different skin tones for secondary characters. For kids who are eager to jump into activities with both feet, the protagonist’s struggles with starting small are sure to ring true, and her hard-earned success is worth celebrating.
A clever, vividly illustrated book about learning from mistakes.