***Note: I received a free digital review copy of this book from NetGalley and Katherine Tegen Books in exchange for an honest review.***
Bessie Lee is perhaps the most precocious, mischievous, and big-hearted youngster to enter the scene of children’s literature since Junie B. Jones. She’s a first-grader who lives with her parents, Gramma, and big sister Bailey. When her teacher, Ms. Stoltz, announces the upcoming First Grade Talent Show, Bessie’s head spins with dreams of grandeur, of wild applause and fame beyond imagination. She just needs a talent to get started with and she’ll be on her way.
Once she’s home, Bessie puts on her thinking hat and goes with her pet, Baby Rabbit, to her sister Bailey’s room to ask for her help in choosing a talent. At first, Bailey plays the part of the beleaguered older sister and insists she be left alone. However, at one point in the mostly one-sided conversation, Bailey looks at Bessie with her hat and clutching her rabbit and says, “What’s up, Houdini?” And thus a star is born. Bailey teaches Bessie all about the world’s most famous magician, and Bessie decides that becoming a Teeny Houdini herself will elevate her above her classmates and make her teeny in their eyes no longer.
As you can well imagine, chaos ensues, with Bessie being forced to learn some hard lessons along the way. In the end, and with a little help, she discovers that everyone has a little magic inside of them and that magic is worth celebrating.
Katrina Moore has created an instantly likable heroine in Bessie Lee, and Zoe Si’s soft Schulzesque illustrations are utterly adorable. I can’t wait to recommend this series to young readers and their caregivers and I’m eagerly awaiting the second book in the series. Two thumbs way up for Bessie Lee, the Teeny Houdini!
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