A clever, vividly illustrated book about learning from mistakes.



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.

Pub Date: March 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-7323269-9-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: L O Annie Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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