Wave a finger and a ship disappears; twirl the same finger and a cupcake appears.
Between swishing, rubbing, and tapping, readers are led to free a colorfully maned lion from its circus cage and to transform a princely frog into a flamingo. But aside from the clever use of “gone-zo,” the second-person narrative relies heavily on tired incantations such as “hocus pocus,” “shazam,” and “presto change-o.” Dull phrasing defuses what should be instinctive reactions of wonder. “Amazing! Bet you were wondering where the ship went. / You really are good at magic!” Disappointingly, Evanson chooses to launch her participatory adventure with a sleight-of-hand cliché. The hat trick features an aloof white Victorian rabbit that contrasts sharply with its engaging counterpart on the bold and sparkly cover. From the unimpressive stack of supersized books to the visually off-putting banquet of persimmon-, black-, and mustard-colored desserts, the prevailing matte pastel palette of the retro artwork fizzles rather than sizzles.
While possessing just a fraction of the magic that Hervé Tullet’s Press Here offers in abundance, this unexceptional addition to the ever expanding field of interactive titles holds some appeal for the preschool set. (Picture book. 3-6)