On a farm, best friends Hee-Haw and Chester, a donkey and a mouse, dream of becoming magicians like the Great Zambini. Despite being the subject of ridicule by all the other animals, the pair practice their tricks anyway. When a circus train passes through town and the great magician’s trunk falls off the train, the donkey and mouse put the props to good use. In disguise, they assume new names—Hee-Haw-Dini and Zaba Zaba the Magnificent—create flashy posters, and present a magic show at the barn. They perform their amazing feats, much to the surprise and delight of the other critters, and are invited to join the Great Zambini’s act. The plot stretches credulity, but magic is a perennially hot topic for children. On a deeper level, the subtle themes of the power of advertising and the gullibility of the public make this one worth sharing. The vibrant acrylics with cheerful, cartoon-like characters provide added appeal. Grades K-3. --Patricia Austin
About the Author
Kim Kennedy and her brother Doug Kennedy have collaborated on several book projects. Publishers Weekly said the Kennedys create fantasy situations that evoke 19th-century fairy stories . . . [and the] paintings have the spirit of early animation with a touch of Oz.” They live in Monroe, Louisiana.