Ta-da! The great magician Aziz performs his magic tricks by turning one object into another, just by changing one letter.
The crowd is impressed when “dish” becomes “fish.” “Rose” becomes “hose,” and “wire” turns into “fire.” However, his assistant is left to deal with the fallout from the tricks, capably plopping the fish into a bowl of water and uncoiling the hose to put out the fire. But when Aziz turns her “wig” into a “pig,” Zaza glares and her nose flares: “Shazam!” Turnabout is fair play as she turns his “hat” into a “bat,” initiating a game of one-upmanship, much to the delight of the audience. Events turn scary when Zaza turns “beans” into threatening “bears.” Aziz pulls out a “card,” Zaza turns it into a “cord,” and together the pair ties up the bears and takes a bow that is a wow. The comic exaggeration of the wordplay is embellished with Paschkis’ quick, sketch-artist style of loose, flourishing lines and breezy free-hand whimsy, akin to Marjorie Priceman’s artwork in Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss (1995). Brown-skinned, mustachioed Aziz in his top hat and pink-skinned, pear-shaped Zaza are humorous caricatures. Zaza never regains her hair, unflappably and ferociously engaging in combat. Kids can’t help but find this quite funny, and the possibilities for extension at home or in the classroom are both plentiful and obvious.
This is a spell that is swell. (Picture book. 4-8)