Probuditi!

Overview


For his birthday, Calvin’s mother gives him two tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent (magician and hypnotist extraordinaire!). Even though Mama hints that his little sister, Trudy, would love to go, Calvin doesn’t hesitate to invite his friend Rodney instead.

The boys return home greatly impressed by the magician’s performance. When Calvin’s mother goes out, she leaves him in charge of Trudy. It’s a job Calvin dislikes because his sister does not want to be left out of ...

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Overview


For his birthday, Calvin’s mother gives him two tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent (magician and hypnotist extraordinaire!). Even though Mama hints that his little sister, Trudy, would love to go, Calvin doesn’t hesitate to invite his friend Rodney instead.

The boys return home greatly impressed by the magician’s performance. When Calvin’s mother goes out, she leaves him in charge of Trudy. It’s a job Calvin dislikes because his sister does not want to be left out of anything. So Calvin and Rodney include her—by making her the first subject for their own hypnotizing machine.

Much to the boys’ surprise, the machine works. But unfortunately they cannot undo what they have done. Trudy is stuck in her trance, convinced she is a dog—panting, drooling, and barking at squirrels. The only problem is, Calvin can’t remember Lomax’s magic word—Probuditi!—so Trudy won’t snap out of it!

The boys are worried and decide to take Trudy to the one man they know can solve their problem—but will Lomax help them? Mama is on her way home . . . Who will have the last laugh?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Masterful compositions display the depth, varied viewpoints, and marvelous mixture of patterns and surfaces that readers have come to expect.
School Library Journal, Starred

Classic Van Allsburg air, like something out of a dream...hinting at mysteries lurking behind the here and now.
The Washington Post

Magnificent sepia-toned art...works magic with people, place and predicament. A delicious tale about just desserts.
The San Francisco Chronicle

A Van Allsburg book is always worth waiting for.
The San Diego Union-Tribune

Imagine how tempting it might be to be able to hypnotize your little sister.
The Chicago Tribune

A rare outing from Van Allsburg, featuring as smooth a case of payback as ever was.
Kirkus Reviews

The nostalgic...sepia-tone artwork is eye-catching...it will draw kids into the story with angled, theatrical images.
Booklist, ALA

Enough of a spooky edge to the hypnotic proceedings to make the plot...intriguing even before the final twist.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

The story of Probuditi!...[is] about the lure of magic.
Publishers Weekly

Van Allsburg works his magic.
Kansas City Star

Chris Van Allsburg, a master of surprise endings, wraps a captivating story in lush, warm full-page illustrations in pencil over pastels in burnt sienna that ooze the heat of a summer day in the early 1940s.
The Chicago Sun-Times

This story of magic and gullibility will keep readers guessing until the very end...sepia-tone drawings match the mid-20th century setting.
Library Media Connection

Washington Post
Classic Van Allsburg air, like something out of a dream...hinting at mysteries lurking behind the here and now.
San Francisco Chronicle
Magnificent sepia-toned art...works magic with people, place and predicament. A delicious tale about just desserts.
San Diego Union-Tribune
A Van Allsburg book is always worth waiting for.
Chicago Tribune
Imagine how tempting it might be to be able to hypnotize your little sister.
Kansas City Star
Van Allsburg works his magic.
Publishers Weekly
The magic in Van Allsburg's new book Probuditi! has been domesticated. Instead of supernatural powers sending rhinos charging through the living room, as in Jumanji, or spacemen falling through the ceiling, as in Zathura, Calvin, the protagonist of Probuditi!, employs a simple magician's trick to set the story in motion. Calvin and his buddy Rodney attend a performance by Lomax the Magnificent where the magician, by means of a rotating spiral disc, hypnotizes a woman and convinces her that she is a chicken. At the end of the show, Lomax says, "Probuditi!" and the woman snaps out of her trance. Inspired, Calvin makes his own rotating disc and manages to hypnotize his sister, Trudy, into thinking that she's a dog. Calvin and Rodney thoroughly enjoy Trudy's canine antics until they realize that Calvin's mom will soon be home, and they can't remember the magic word to reverse the spell. After several frantic dehypnotizing tries, it all works out with a little quiet help from Trudy. Although I miss the sense of otherworldly beauty that Van Allsburg achieved in some of his earlier books, particularly The Wreck of the Zephyr, the vaudevillian spirit of Probuditi! gives the artist a chance to make some very funny pictures. The lady Lomax hypnotizes struts around an imaginary barnyard like a crazed hen who happens to be wearing pearls and high heels. Trudy laps water from a bowl on the floor with almost embarrassing relish, and squats expectantly like a goofy golden retriever. All the characters and the scenes they inhabit seem to come from some iconic 1940s smalltown childhood, which is made all the more nostalgic by the artist wrapping them in a haze of luminosity. This typical "Van Allsburg light" is so effective in the way that it leavens the painstaking solidity of his illustrations and connects the details in a convincing atmosphere. So even though he is not using his light to bathe the classic simplicity of a sailboat floating through the sky, the light in these pictures still works to create the glow that we have come to expect in a Van Allsburg book and to give this homespun tale the quality of a remembered dream. The story of Probuditi! may not involve spacemen or exotic transformations, but it's still about the lure of magic and, this time, it's a magic that maybe any kid can make with a spiral disc and a gullible friend. All ages. (Oct.) Jim McMullan, known for his Lincoln Center Theater posters, has most recently illustrated the picture book I'm Dirty! (HarperCollins/Cotler, Sept.), written by his wife, Kate McMullan, and starring a backhoe loader. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
It is Calvin's birthday and his mother has given him tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent. Ignoring her hint about including Trudy, his little sister, Calvin immediately asks his friend Rodney to accompany him. They are intrigued by Lomax's ability to hypnotize a woman from the audience, who obeys his command to act like a chicken. Upon arriving home, Calvin is left in charge of Trudy while his mother leaves for a while. Calvin and Rodney rig up a spiral disc, hypnotize Trudy, and tell her she is a dog. Trudy obligingly becomes a dog. Barking and yapping, she chases a squirrel up a tree. Then she laps water from a bowl on the floor with obvious gusto. Realizing that his mom will be home soon, Calvin decides to break the spell. But, alas, neither he nor Rodney can recall the magic word (Probuditi). Finally, they figure out a way to scare Trudy out of the trance, but Calvin's mom knows that he has been up to some tomfoolery and sends him straight to his room. He stays there, missing his birthday dinner and cake. When Trudy brings him a peanut butter sandwich later in the evening, she leaves Calvin wondering who really outsmarted who. The realistic illustrations, done totally in tones of sepia, capture the expressions of each character and the relationships among them in striking, almost eerie, ways. Those reading this book and observing the pictures will not soon forget this distinctive African-American family.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Van Allsburg's latest story opens with a spider and a scream coming from Trudy (offstage), caused by an older brother's prank. Although Calvin's mother is none too pleased with her son, she honors his birthday with tickets for a magician/hypnotist. When the boy and his friend witness the strutting and clucking of a pearl-clad matron who believes she's a chicken, they can't wait to build their own rotating spiral disk. With Mom at the beauty parlor, the moment is ripe with Van Allsburgian possibility, and the artist delivers with fresh and funny scenes. Under hypnosis, Trudy becomes a dog. The suspense builds as the boys struggle to remember the word that will break the spell. The highly textured pastel and pencil drawings, rendered in a range of warm browns, are offset by creamy, rich backgrounds. The sepia look is well suited to the '40s setting. The masterful compositions display the depth, varied viewpoints, and marvelous mixture of patterns and surfaces that readers have come to expect from the artist. The expressions and postures of the African-American heroine are hilarious. Probuditi! displays a clear sympathy for the thankless role of a younger sibling; however, while Calvin is howling at the memory of his sister "barking and drooling," it is she who has the very satisfying last laugh (offstage).-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A rare outing from Van Allsburg, featuring as smooth a case of payback as ever was. Calvin returns from watching a hypnotist's act determined to visit yet another torment on his beleaguered little sister, Trudy, by hypnotizing her. His delight at seeing her barking loudly and capering about like a dog changes to dismay, however, when she fails to snap out of it on command, and then to deep gloom when his frantic efforts to waken her earn him supper-less exile to his room. With sepia-toned, characteristic photorealism, Van Allsburg views his African-American characters from low angles and zeroes in on their animated faces. Trudy-as-a-dog is not only particularly hilarious, with glassy eyes and hanging tongue, but totally convincing, too-until, that is, she makes a sly remark at the end. Smaller siblings everywhere will applaud the elegant way she turns the tables on her big brother. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618755028
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/30/2006
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 175,794
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 12.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature. In 1982, Jumanji was nominated for a National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.

Biography

Multiple Caldecott Medal winner Chris Van Allsburg grew up in the 1950s in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan. He majored in sculpture at the University of Michigan's College of Architecture & Design and graduated in 1972. He received his M.F.A. in 1975 from Rhode Island School of Design.

After graduate school, Van Allsburgh set up a sculpture studio in Providence, married and settled in the area, and began exhibiting his work in New York City and throughout New England. Around the same time, he became interested in drawing. His wife, Lisa, encouraged him to pursue children's book illustration, putting him in contact with her friend David Macauley, a successful artist and author. Macauley's editor at Houghton Mifflin was impressed by Van Allsburgh's work and advised him to try his hand at illustrating a story of his own. His maiden effort, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, was published in 1979 and received a Caldecott Honor Medal.

Since that auspicious beginning, Van Allsburgh has gone on to produce a string of wonderfully inventive, critically acclaimed, and award-winning books. He gathers inspiration from unlikely quarters -- the progress of ants across a kitchen counter, crayon streaks in a child's coloring book, a children's board game come to life -- and executes his ideas on a provocative but surefire "What if..." principle.

Among his many awards are two Caldecott Medals -- one for Jumanji, written in 1982 and the other for 1985's The Polar Express; a National Book Award (also for Jumanji); and the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children's literature.

Good To Know

Van Allsburg's grandfather owned and operated the East End Creamery and delivered milk and milk products to homes around the Grand Rapids area in yellow and blue trucks.

One of Van Allsburg's childhood homes was a big, Tudor-styled house on a wide, tree-lined street. He used the street as a model for the cover art of what is arguably his most famous book, The Polar Express.

Because so many students at Van Allsburg's high school excelled academically, representatives from the University of Michigan would visit each year to interview interested seniors and admit them on the spot if they met qualifications. During his senior year, Van Allsburg was told about the art program affiliated with the University's College of Architecture & Design and thought it sounded like fun. Although he had never had any formal art classes, he fibbed to the admissions officer, saying he had taken private lessons outside of school.

Two of Van Allsburg's bestselling books, Jumanji and The Polar Express, were subsequently turned into blockbuster movies.

Van Allsburg is not your typical "feel good" children's author. He has been known to handle darker themes, and his stories often involve bizarre worlds and dreamscapes.

In all his stories, Van Allsburg inserts a little white bull terrier modeled after a real-life dog owned by his brother-in-law. (Another popular children's author, David Shannon, does the same thing, but Shannon's pup is a Westie!)

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    1. Hometown:
      Providence, Rhode Island
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 18, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Grand Rapids, Michigan
    1. Education:
      University of Michigan College of Architecture & Design, 1972; Rhode Island School of Design, MFA, 1975
    2. Website:

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for Kids @ TeensReadToo.com

    From the Coldecott Medal-winning author of such beloved storybooks as JUMANJI and THE POLAR EXPRESS comes another whimsical story in the form of PROBUDITI! With beautiful illustrations and a premise that any child will love, this is another storybook that's sure to please. <BR/><BR/>When Calvin receives two tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent, a famous magician and hypnotist, for his birthday, he knows just who he'll take with him--and it's not Trudy, his little sister. <BR/><BR/>With his best friend, Rodney, Calvin watches Lomax perform some amazing magic, most memorable of which was hypnotizing a woman in the audience and having her believe she was a chicken. When the boys return home, they decide they'll make a contraption to hypnotize someone--and who better to experiment on than Trudy? <BR/><BR/>But when Trudy really starts acting like she's a dog and the boys can't snap her out of it, Calvin starts to worry. And when things don't go as planned and he misses out on his special birthday dinner, the giggles he got from seeing his sister bark and walk around on all fours turns into anger. Especially when he finds out that hypnotism might not have been behind Trudy's dog act, after all. <BR/><BR/>My kids loved this story. My son thought that hypnotizing his little sister sounded like a great idea; my daughter felt that her big brother missing out on his birthday cake was great payback. <BR/><BR/>Mr. Van Allsburg has written and illustrated another wonderful storybook that kids of all ages are sure to enjoy. Kudos!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2008

    This book is for any body who likes to laugh

    I have read the book 'Probuditi' by Chris Van Allsburg. This book is a about a brother who plays a funny prank on his little sister who fires one right back at him. The brother gets the joke from a magic show. He thinks he hypnotized his little sister to act like a dog.I hope you like this book just like me.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2006

    A Fun Story With Great Illustrations

    From the Coldecott Medal winning author of such beloved storybooks as JUMANJI and THE POLAR EXPRESS comes another whimsical story in the form of PROBUDITI! With beautiful illustrations and a premise that any child will love, this is another storybook that's sure to please. When Calvin receives two tickets to see Lomax the Magnificent, a famous magician and hypnotist, for his birthday, he knows just who he'll take with him--and it's not Trudy, his little sister. With his best friend, Rodney, Calvin watches Lomax perform some amazing magic, most memorable of which was hypnotizing a woman in the audience and having her believe she was a chicken. When the boys return home, they decide they'll make a contraption to hypnotize someone--and who better to experiment on than Trudy? But when Trudy really starts acting like she's a dog and the boys can't snap her out of it, Calvin starts to worry. And when things don't go as planned and he misses out on his special birthday dinner, the giggles he got from seeing his sister bark and walk around on all fours turns into anger. Especially when he finds out that hypnotism might not have been behind Trudy's dog act, after all. My kids loved this story. My son thought that hypnotizing his little sister sounded like a great idea my daughter felt that her big brother missing out on his birthday cake was great payback. Mr. Van Allsburg has written and illustrated another wonderful storybook that kids of all ages are sure to enjoy. Kudos!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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