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ENIGMA by Graeme Base


A Magical Mystery

by Graeme Base & illustrated by Graeme Base

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8109-7245-2
Publisher: Abrams

Bertie Badger undertakes a magical mystery tour to recover a cache of missing props. In his heyday, Grandpa Badger was a master magician, known as Gadzooks the Great. Now he lives at the Retirement Home for Elderly Magicians, surrounded by old colleagues. Whenever Bertie visits, Grandpa puts on a magnificent show. One day, Bertie arrives to find Grandpa and his fellow residents disconsolate; each has been robbed of a valuable prop (Grandpa’s rabbit is missing). Bertie turns sleuth to question all the colorful ex-magicians about their losses. Their stories are as wild as their rooms, rendered in a crisp combination of watercolor, pencil and gouache. The mystery’s solution should satisfy readers, who then have the opportunity to go back and find a certain story character hidden in each illustration. Then, Base’s pièce de résistance: The back inside cover opens like a secret chamber to reveal a secret-code challenge, with dials and symbols and letters and a magic button. Base’s rhyming text is undeniably pedestrian, but his tableaux are stylish and packed with witty touches. (Picture book. 5-10)