cover image Hocus Pocus Takes the Train

Hocus Pocus Takes the Train

Sylvie Desrosiers, illus. by Rémy Simard. Kids Can, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55453-956-7

In this follow-up to 2011’s Hocus Pocus, the blue magician’s rabbit has a train to catch—literally, since it has left the station without him. Hocus also has a secondary goal: to reunite a baby with the purple stuffed rabbit it left at the station. Standing in his way is his nemesis from the previous book, the magician’s pet dog, but over a series of nearly wordless panels, Hocus gets the job done. Even without words, Desrosiers and Simard communicate a great deal through the characters’ expressions and body language, as well as “speech” bubbles filled with punctuation (question marks and exclamation marks frequently represent Hocus’s confusion and alarm) and other symbols; when Hocus realizes the magician has left without him, his speech balloon simply contains an image of the man’s top hat. Simard has fun with the many action sequences in his crisp, brightly colored cartoons, casting Hocus as a sort of cuddly Bruce Willis at times, as when the rabbit leaps from a makeshift surfboard onto the speeding train. A fast-moving adventure with humor and fun aplenty. Ages 3–7. (Aug.)