In this new picture book from Shae Millward we meet Ziggy, a rabbit who was once companion to The Amazing Albertino, a most marvellous and magnificent magician. They travelled the world together, delighting and surprising audiences. Albertino would make things disappear and then reappear, and when he tapped his wand three times and spoke the magic words, Ziggy would jump out of Albertino’s hat to the amazement of the crowd. After each performance, Alby (as Ziggy affectionately called him) would gaze up at the moon, and once told him, ‘The moon is a master of illusion Ziggy. It’s a dusty old rock. . . yet we see it as beautiful. It appears to shine but makes no light of its own. It seems to change shape, yet it is always whole.’ Albertino began spending a lot of time in his room, and Ziggy was certain he was working on a really BIG trick. Then one day when Ziggy woke up, Alby was gone. Alby had made all kinds of objects vanish before, but had never made himself disappear. And so Ziggy waits, and waits, and waits for him to reappear. As he waits, he meets Owl, and tells him how worried he is that something has gone wrong with the trick. Owl reassures him that the trick was a success, his greatest ever, and that he is not gone, but all around them. Albertino has simply changed from one form into another, and is now part of the moon, the stars, the rainbows and flowers. But most importantly, he will always be part of Ziggy's heart.
This is such a quietly emotive and beautiful tale of friendship, loss and acceptance. With the moon as a metaphor for being ever changing but at the same time always there, Shae Millward offers a gentle explanation of losing someone in the physical sense, but still having them with us in the memories and everyday reminders all around us. Andy Fackrell’s gorgeous illustrations are perfect support for the story, with his use of bold, bright colours when Ziggy and Alby are together, and subtle nighttime hues as Ziggy waits for his friend to return. Ziggy’s expressions from his sadness and confusion about Alby’s disappearance, to his pure joy at the realisation that he will always be with him, are enchanting and poignant in their simplicity. THE RABBIT’S MAGICIAN is an uplifting tale of love, comfort and remembrance, and would make a wonderful addition to collections and picture books dealing with grief.
Supporting teaching themes could include friendship, loss, grief, love, magic, rabbits, animals, magicians, the moon, phases of the moon.
Find out more about Shae Millward.
Find out more about Andy Fackrell.
Link to author interview with Shae Millward.
Link to lesson activities.
Published by Ford St.
ISBN: 9781922696076 (HB)
Highly recommended for ages 3 - 8
While two children are holidaying with their Nana, they stumble across a piggybank that their Pop had kept tucked away for a rainy day. Inside they find a shimmering green banknote that sparkles with magic and immediately flies out the door. The children quickly follow, eventually finding themselves in front of a huge department store named WIZARD & CO. Inside, the chief goblin informs them that a one hundred pound Hocus Pocus note is a lot of money, and tells them to 'Expect the unexpected - this is magic after all!' He guides them through the eight levels or floors, each one a riot of colour, curiosities and surprises. Level one has rainbow makers and flying toasters, level two is where books come alive, level 3 has wonderful food (watch out for the blackbird pies!) and level four is where the teddy bears are having their tea. On level five they find train sets with tiny people, and up on level six is where games are played including snakes and ladders - with real snakes! Levels seven and eight are full of intriguing gardens and giant sized lollies. As they reach the check out ready to pay for the wondrous things they've chosen, the note takes off again to the very top floor, where a wise old wizard gives them a choice - keep all they have chosen, or buy a new wheelchair for their Nana Claire, whose wheels have fallen of her old wheelchair. A mixture of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium, this book is full of stunning illustrations that invite the reader to look again and again to see what they can find. Even on the very last page there's a secret code to decipher! Kindness, being mindful of the choices we make, and putting others needs before your own, are the themes embedded within this lyrical rhyming story and, as the wizard so eloquently says, 'A simple act of giving is the most magical of all.' A delight for younger readers and a must have for all library collections.
Kindness, empathy, disabilities, toys, wizards, book characters, money, inventions, board games, gardening, plants and coding could all be linked as teaching ideas for the classroom from this beautiful picture book.
Find out more about Mitchell Toy here.
Published 2021 by Five Mile Press.
ISBN 9781922514486 (HB)
Recommended for ages 3 - 7