Kitamura’s volume (The Rainmaker Danced) is an amusing peek-a-boo tale for budding magic fans. The opening ink, watercolor, and gouache image shows two ear tips peeking out of an inverted magician’s hat. “What do have here?” asks the omniscient narrator in the first of several questions that drive the book. The answer is a rabbit magician named Hattie, and with an “abracadabra, katakurico,” she pulls out of her hat, in rapid succession, a cat, a squirrel, an octopus, a moose, and an elephant (who needs help extracting his elephant-size derriere). Much of the action takes place along a single plane with no detailing—opening and closing pictures establish a proscenium stage—but the animal cast carries the show with élan. Kitamura’s snaggly black line and lovely washes of color conjure up a soft, shocked brown moose, and a nonplussed pink-orange octopus with vine-like appendages that seem to have a life of their own. Although the ending feels a little limp (a backdrop arrives, and the animals are suddenly duplicated, creating a “whole new world of friends”), the vivid characters make this much more than a one-trick story. Ages 2–6. (Mar.)
★ "The spare, repetitive, interactive text engages readers in chanting the magic words with Hattie and watching expectantly, guessing what will emerge next. . . .energetic illustrations. . . Dynamic, fun-filled, imaginative, and ideal for participatory reading aloud." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"An amusing peek-a-boo tale for budding magic fans. . . .vivid characters make this much more than a one-trick story." —Publishers Weekly
"Bold and lively pictures. . . [Kitamura's] use of color is especially striking. . . Magician Hattie takes a well-deserved bow at the end, but preschoolers are going to want to start the story all over again, chanting, "Abracadabra, katakurico.'" —The Horn Book Magazine
"Positively bursting with storytime potential. . . Young audiences will loudly echo the closing plaudits: 'Brava, Hattie! Bravo, hat!'" —Booklist
"Wonderful pacing and exceptional charm. . . .comedy gold. This is likely to become one of those well-worn 'again, again' books that are the joy of children and the sometime-torment of grown-ups. As with Rod Campbell's perennially popular 'Dear Zoo' (1982), the ask-and-reveal pleasure of 'Hat Tricks' is unlikely to diminish for children ages 2-5 no matter how often you read it to them." —The Wall Street Journal
"The interactivity of this book makes it a perfect read-aloud for young children. Its bright colors and the funny faces on the animals all work to make this a book that early childhood educators will want in their libraries."—School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Hattie is a bunny who loves performing magic. Usually, it's the rabbit that is in the hat, but Hattie is not your typical magician. Assuming the stance, Hattie says the magic words—"Abracadabra, katakurico"—and asks, "What's in the hat?" Readers who notice that there are two little ears peeking out will no doubt sing out, "Rabbit." Wrong! It's a cat! Sure enough, a slightly befuddled cat pops out. Hattie continues with one surprise after another, making kids interact with the text. The animals become unpredictable (one is an octopus!), which will delight children. Hattie is a wonderful magician who ties all these crazy animals together in a very satisfying ending. VERDICT The interactivity of this book makes it a perfect read-aloud for young children. Its bright colors and the funny faces on the animals all work to make this a book that early childhood educators will want in their libraries.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Hattie the magician pulls amazing things out of her hat.
Emerging from her top hat, Hattie, a rabbit, welcomes everyone to her magic show, invites readers to repeat "Abracadabra, katakurico," and see "what's in the hat." Initially, two pointy ears surface and then a surprised cat jumps out. Hattie repeats the same magic words, and the fluffy tail and ears of an energetic squirrel appear. Next Hattie's magic words invoke a snakelike arm attached to a huge octopus followed by antlers belonging to a gigantic moose. For her next trick, Hattie reveals the gray trunk of an enormous, shocked elephant who's temporarily stuck in the hat. Surely the hat's finally empty now? But wait, Hattie has a "grand finale" still to come. The spare, repetitive, interactive text engages readers in chanting the magic words with Hattie and watching expectantly, guessing what will emerge next. The energetic illustrations rely on vivid colors, bold, black, hand-drawn outlines, simple shapes, and plain backgrounds to showcase Hattie in her yellow coat and red bow tie as she conjures the sequence of hilarious creatures from her magical hat. As the animals increase in size, they dominate the double-page spreads until Hattie's growing menagerie explodes into a wild, wonderful "whole new world of friends."
Dynamic, fun-filled, imaginative, and ideal for participatory reading aloud. (Picture book. 2-6)