Book Review: Hee-Haw-Dini and the Great Zambini
When I was younger I liked magic. I still kinda do. Really, what’s cooler than walking through walls and flying, all while wearing heavily bedazzled leisurewear? Siegfried and Roy will tell you: not a thing. Kids like magic too. In Hee-Haw-Dini and the Great Zambini Kim and Doug Kennedy (Pirate Pete) take that enjoyment of illusion, toss in a bit of an “exceeding expectations” element, and make an entertaining little story that will work well for read aloud time.
Hee-Haw (a donkey) and his friend Chester (a mouse) love magic. Despite the naysaying of the other farm animals, the duo practice their skills with dreams of being famous magicians, like their idol the Great Zambini. When a passing train leaves Zambini’s magic trunk in their possession, Chester and Hee-Haw decide to disguise their identities and put on a show for the farm. Falling for their costumes, the other animals are astounded by the amazing “Hee-Haw-Dini” and “Zaba Zaba”. When the pair reveal their identities and are visited by a surprise guest (hint: his name is in the title), everyone is left picking up their jaws.
At a certain point, every kid gets tired of being told what he/she can or cannot do. Hee-Haw-Dini incorporates that common childhood feeling nicely, as Hee-Haw and Chester prove that they can stun an audience with their skills. This theme should strike a chord with young readers who are used to hearing “you can’t do that”.
The acrylic illustrations have a soft, sunny quality that match well with the lighthearted text. Every color of the rainbow is used, adding richness to the proceedings
A cheerful tale with a storyline that will appeal to youngsters, Hee-Haw-Dini and the Great Zambini may not be a title that becomes a favorite, but it will definitely be liked.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
Filed under: Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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