cover image The Disappearing Act (Teeny Houdini #1)

The Disappearing Act (Teeny Houdini #1)

Katrina Moore, illus. by Zoe Si. HarperCollins/Tegen, $15.99 (112p) ISBN 978-0-06-300462-7

Moore and Si collaborate on a chapter book series starter, introducing the exuberant first grader Bessie Lee, who is of Chinese descent and “likes to be fancy.” When her teacher announces that the First Grade Talent Show is happening in a mere week, engaging narrator Bessie sees it as a grand opportunity to escape her “too teeny” reputation—she’s sick of being shut out of “big-kid stuff” and to have to “sneaky-listen” to be part of her fifth-grader sister Bailey’s world. “If I win the talent show, everyone will think I am big, too.” The high-energy child digs through her favorite pastimes (“cut and style Bailey’s Barbies’ hair, play with Baby Rabbit, and put crayons into Gramma’s soup so it turns rainbow colors”) to find her talent, and settles on a magical disappearing act. But mischief and mishaps abound before all ends well. Short, episodic chapters move quickly alongside Si’s stylized illustrations of the protagonist’s ethnically inclusive community and domestic life, making Bessie Lee’s forthcoming exploits ones to look forward to. Ages 6–10. Author’s agent: Andrea Morrison, Writers House. (Jan.)