Three Magic Balls

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When Uncle Dinkleschmidt buys three rubber balls for his toy store, it's up to Rudy to take very good care of them. But as soon as he is left alone in the shop, Rudy discovers that these are no ordinary balls, and that's when the magic begins. . .

After an old woman sells three unusual balls to the owner of the toy shop where Rudy works, she gives him a golden whistle that comes in very handy when the balls lead him on a magical ...

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Overview

When Uncle Dinkleschmidt buys three rubber balls for his toy store, it's up to Rudy to take very good care of them. But as soon as he is left alone in the shop, Rudy discovers that these are no ordinary balls, and that's when the magic begins. . .

After an old woman sells three unusual balls to the owner of the toy shop where Rudy works, she gives him a golden whistle that comes in very handy when the balls lead him on a magical adventure.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although a jewel-bright palette and urban setting give this book a contemporary look, its fantasy plot offers more than a hint of old-fashioned enchantment. The tale's anachronistic center is "Uncle Dinkleschmidt's rare and antique toy shop," where nephew Rudy helps with chores. One day, a mysterious woman in a pointed hat walks into the wood-paneled store to sell an unusual trio of balls--one red, one yellow and one blue--with mischievous faces. Then she "placed a gold whistle in [Rudy's] hand and disappeared, right on the spot!" When Uncle Dinkleschmidt leaves on an errand, Rudy opens the cabinet and releases the balls, which expand into three Tweedle-Dum figures and spring right out the door; Rudy sits piggyback on one rotund form, momentarily forgetting the gold whistle in his pocket. In lucidly colorful, action-packed spreads, Egielski (Jazper) mingles Old Country flavor, vaudeville hijinks and modern architecture. At street level, pedestrians and caf diners dive out of the way of the balloon-like escapees; a few stories up, window washers and rooftop sitters follow the bouncing balls. Egielski's boy hero and seat-of-the-pants antics suggest Maurice Sendak's wild rides, until an uninspired conclusion (the rubbery protagonists must stop a plane crash) forces the story down to earth. Egielski approaches the art and narration with boundless energy, while keeping the suspense well within the comfort zone. Ages 3-7. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Young Rudy works part-time at Uncle Dinkleschmidt's rare-and-antique toy shop. One afternoon, an old woman comes by with some rubber balls to sell: "They're too much trouble for me," she claims. Uncle Dinkleschmidt buys them and sets them on a shelf while Rudy takes a gold whistle the woman offers. A bit later, a simple action-who can resist bouncing a rubber ball?-results in a magical flight for the boy, accompanied by three large, round rubber men, and the rescue of an airplane about to crash. The conclusion encourages readers to imagine further adventures. This colorful urban world is a bit less gritty than that in Egielski's wonderful The Gingerbread Boy (HarperCollins, 1997); here he has tempered it with a German fairy-tale look (especially in the old lady's appearance, with her pointy hat and bright green clogs). While the story is fun, the progression of events doesn't have the absolute conviction or emotional resonance that the best fantasy requires. Still, Rudy is an active and appealing hero, the rubber men (big babies like Maurice Sendak's bakers from In the Night Kitchen [HarperCollins, 1996]) are powerful yet comically unwieldy, and the artwork is great. The dynamic compositions, soft bright colors, and strong and supple lines are all first-rate. The figures have the look of real substance, and the action has the look of real motion, both wonderful things to accomplish on a flat page.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
Once again, the team that created Buz (1995) and Jazper (1998) hangs imaginative, eye-catching art on a slight story line. The magical adventure begins when an old woman brings three balls with faces into an antique toy shop where a young boy helps his uncle after school. She claims that the balls are too much trouble for her and asks Rudy to look after them, giving him a gold whistle before she vanishes. Rudy discovers that the whistle controls the balls when they lure him into letting them out of their case for one far-fetched escapade in which they prevent a plane from crashing. Visually there's much to recommend. The three retro-looking balls inflate into rotund rubber men in primary colors who bounce through and above the city and outside the boundaries of the paintings, with Rudy clinging to the blue one. The art is energetic, cheerful, and full of clever detail, and it's especially appealing when the balls change shape to stop the plane and then reduce to their original size. Colorful endpapers reflect the toy store's locale, and the typography is in an appropriately playful font, reminiscent of hand printing. Children can ponder further adventures, as Rudy seems to do when he purchases the balls on payday. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060260323
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/1/2000
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2003

    Amelia, mom of 2

    My son likes the story very much. He keeps asking me to read it loud over and over again.The fantasy in the story brought my kids to their own magic toys fantasy. Great illustration,colorful and makes the children learn about colors too...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2003

    imaginative, funny, captivating to kids

    My kids thought this book was wonderful. It is imaginative, unusual, funny, colorful. The fantasy element of it is great, and my son always loves a story about a boy who does something he's not supposed to do. Not your average picture book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2002

    Not a memorable book

    I found the story line facile. The balls just happen to come upon an airplane that is out of control. They just happen to be able to change shape and cushion the landing. The book's solution to returning the balls to their natural shape is too quick and obvious. The bright pictures, though, are a pleasure to view.

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