In supersaturated oceanic color, squidling Oliver, purple and with top hat and wand, becomes Squid Kid the Magnificent after saying the magic words: “smelly yellow jellyfish.”
His ponytailed, fuchsia older sister, Stella, is unimpressed. When Oliver disappears in a cloud of squid ink, Stella points out that it isn’t magic—any squid can do it. Stella is particularly alarmed by Oliver’s use of her pet cuttlefish, Cuddles, in his act, and she notes that “cuttlefish change colors ALL THE TIME,” and that isn’t magic either. Oliver soldiers on, trying one last trick, but Stella has a trick up her, er, tentacles, too. Oliver’s magician’s patter is quite fine, and Berry’s good use of occasional internal rhyme and alliteration makes this a likely read-aloud. A couple of gatefolds add visual pop to the deep colors, and details charm. There’s the occasional audience of a besotted clam (note the hearts), and a yellow puffer fish acts as silent sidekick to Oliver. It’s hard to decide which is funnier: the single orthodontic bracket on Stella’s beak or Oliver’s magic chant.
Delightful brother-and-sister snark in squid form—yes, really. (Picture book. 4-7)