In story and artwork as delicate as milkweed floss, Paul tells the story of young Hedgehog’s tribulations as a budding magician.
A little hedgehog gathers his friends—Mouse, Rabbit, Raccoon, Duckling, an unidentified creature in Bermuda shorts (possibly an Antipodean possum) and a handful of extras—for a magic show. The show consists of Hedgehog’s disappearing/reappearing act—evidently, and sadly, his strong suit. He enlists the help of his friends. Look, here is Mouse. Drape her under the handkerchief and, abracadabra! Um, look, Mouse is still here. Then he tries to make Rabbit appear out of a hat by yanking on his ears. “Ouch,” says Rabbit. Duckling decides against volunteering for the disappearing box. Hedgehog is crushed. But shortly, his friends return with a wheelbarrow. Abracadabra! From under the handkerchief a cake appears, from which Mouse jumps out. Unbeknownst to Hedgehog, who is mirthfully rolling around at Mouse’s shenanigans, the others eat the cake. “I think I made the cake disappear,” he gasps, and only the worst killjoy would contradict him. The word that pertains here is dear. The story has a sweetness that can’t be denied, and the artwork is both delicate, as if painted on bone china, and transporting: For all its etherealness, you could take a bite out of the cake.
A lovely lesson: If at first you don’t succeed...then count on your friends to help get it right. (Picture book. 3-5)