The famous magician, Monsieur Lapin, is holding auditions for the role of a new assistant without any luck, until Houdini the rabbit comes along. He turns out to be the perfect choice; he loves magic, looks after everyone, and ensures the show runs smoothly. One night, things go wrong, however. Yet Houdini is not daunted and manages to keep the show going.
In Meg McLaren’s début picturebook the illustrations take a leading role. They are lively, joyful, humorous and engaging. The pictures reveal a chaotic, hilarious world of magic inhabited mainly by chubby rabbits. They draw the reader in and invite lots of discussion and laughter. The main body of text is simple and centres around Houdini’s relationship with Monsieur Lapin. The font used for the main story is very plain which works well with the busy illustrations. I loved the use of the onomatopoeic magicians’ language with words like ‘shazam’ and ‘tadaa’. Children will really engage with this language. The book cover is fantastic and inventive and the dust jacket can be removed to reveal instructions for a magic trick you can perform at home. The main cover underneath is full of delightful illustrations.
Although the main story is simple, the illustrations with the text create a substantial book, and there is a lot to take in when reading. I felt the ending was a bit forced, but I was completely charmed by the illustrations and book cover. A fun read for ages 3 to 5.