A young wizard helps cure Dudley the dragon’s hiccups.
He does so after the royal family and their servants call on him to help solve the hiccup-induced wafts of smoke that keep appearing throughout the castle. Magician Max concocts a potion that quickly cures Dudley, to everyone’s delight. On each page, there is a die-cut hole shaped like arched windows or an opening to a cellar. When the page is turned, the image framed by the hole appears on the next double-page spread. These features appear to be only an attention-getting gimmick and do little to illuminate the slight story. While there are some clever images in the jewel-toned, detailed cartoon art (a spider wearing a gas mask or eyes and frog legs in Max’s potion pot), the antics and medieval imagery are going to go over the heads of typical board-book readers. The interactive feature on the cover—a pull-tab at the top of the book that opens and closes the castle doors to reveal the hero Max—will probably interest youngsters the most. The companion title, A Ballet to Remember (978-0-7641-6645-7), employs this pull-tab feature to better effect, as it opens and closes a stage curtain. Here, the story focuses on an upcoming ballet recital. A puppy belonging to one of the dancers wreaks havoc with the costumes, and the performers have to set things right before the big show. Again, the youngest readers are not going to get much out of the tale, which also utilizes the die-cut holes in the pages.
Neither magical nor memorable for typical board-book readers. (Board book. 3-4)