Kirkus Reviews QR Code
PRESTO CHANGE-O by Édouard Manceau


A Book of Animal Magic

by Édouard Manceau ; illustrated by Édouard Manceau

Pub Date: March 25th, 2014
ISBN: 978-2-8480-1944-4
Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Through the twist of paperboard flaps, objects are transformed.

The action is on the right-hand pages. A man’s top hat reveals a bird hiding underneath; a salad bowl flips upside down to become a turtle. Across the spread, rhyming couplets describe the transformation. The majority of these paper-engineering magic tricks will enchant children, but some of these metamorphoses feel a bit forced; the clock that morphs into an owl requires the twisting of seven separate flaps and does not end up looking much like the nocturnal bird. Manceau’s flat, Lois Ehlert–like graphics in a dark and highly saturated palette are eye-catching, although the almost entirely black rocket/penguin is too dark against a navy blue background. The poetry is also uneven, including some delightful lines mixed in with forced analogies and lines that don’t scan. The final two pages provide before-and-after pictures of each switch as a helpful guide. The back of this board book bears a large choking-hazard warning for children under 3, but since the verse is sophisticated and the manipulations require more dexterity than the average toddler possesses, the package is more appropriate for older kiddos anyway.

While it’s a less-than-perfect offering, preschoolers who crave gimmicks to manipulate will enjoy giving this one a whirl, literally.

(Board book. 3-5)