cover image Ta-Da!


Kathy Ellen Davis, illus. by Kaylani Juanita. Chronicle, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-4513-6

A girl is having tea with her stuffed animals in a makeshift castle when a boy dressed in a wizard costume appears in the doorway. “DUN DUN DUH!” writes debut author Davis. As the sound effect suggests, the wizard wreaks havoc on the castle. But with a rousing “Ta-Da!” the girl pretends that her dog is a friendly, flying pink dragon and they escape. More back and forth ensues, and ultimately the boy and girl join forces for a magic show, snack time, and one last adventure, trading musical signatures or singing them in unison. Debut illustrator Juanita taps into the free-for-all that is imaginative play, with a veritable explosion of magical motifs filling the pages. Her round-eyed characters at times resemble paper dolls, lending them an off-putting stiffness. But Davis has a lively voice; playful typography gives the mild comedy an extra nudge, and the singsong sound effects invite reader involvement. Ages 3–5. [em](June) [/em]