One of those books whose author appears to have a direct line to the way children think.
Anton Can Do Magic
Anton has a magic hat. A real one. He wants to make something disappear… A clever, playful picture book.
Anton has a magic hat.
A real one.
Anton wants to do some magic.
He wants to make something disappear…
First Anton tries to make a tree vanish, but it’s too big.
He manages to make a bird disappear, and even his friend Luke.
But where did Luke go?
Country of Origin Germany Reader Age 2-5 year, 5-7 year Book Size 24.2 × 25 cm 24.2 × 25 cm ISBN AntoncandoMagic 9781877467363
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Catholic Library World, June 2012 –
Anton Can Do Magic is a perfect story for early or pre-readers. Children can easily ‘read’ this book and understand the entire story without the words. Teachers can use this story to teach the importance of retelling and the concept of sequence.
School Library Journal (US), February 2012 –
Although the book is wordless, simple, charming illustrations capture the humor in Anton’s youthful and successful antics.
Waking Brain Cells blog, December 2011 –
A funny, playful picture book that will get audiences giggling and is a great pick for a magical story time.
The Horn Book US, November 2011 –
There is a superb interplay between the short declarative sentences and the cartoon-style illustrations that allows the true story to take place in the spaces between the words and the pictures, and in the connections readers need to make in their own heads.
publishersweekly.com, July 2011 –
Anton looks a bit like Charlie Brown, although he’s younger and more cheerful, and he wears a big, impressive turban with the feather in front, the kind that real magicians wear. K”nnecke, in his English-language debut, records Anton’s efforts to do magic with his prized hat, letting readers in on the joke that the hat doesn’t actually give him any magic powers, even though Anton thinks it does. He can’t make a tree disappear (‘That’s funny–the tree is still there. That tree is probably too big’), so he tries again with a small bird perching on a high branch. ‘Anton does some magic’ (Anton waves his hands around professionally, the hat falls over his eyes as he does, and the bird flies away). ‘The bird is gone. Anton can do magic!’ For his next trick, Anton brings his new talent to his friends Luke, who’s skeptical, and Greta, who’s lost her bird. Endearingly, K”nnecke allows Anton to be the hero even after readers see that it’s all coincidence, a sweet-tempered conclusion that celebrates kids’ belief in their own abilities.
Page & Blackmore Booksellers, December 2010 –
I love this book! Anton has a magic hat; he wants to make things disappear and, due to a minor mishap involving hat slippage, he is successful. His friend Luke isn’t impressed until Anton produces a lost bird from under his hat. How did he do that?? Read and find out.
Gleebooks Gleaner, October 2010 –
This perfect picture book has all the charm and humour of Charles Schultz comics – in the best possible way. Anton, a very Charlie Brown type of character, has a magician’s hat and he wants to do magic tricks. His first trick, making a tree disappear, doesn’t work, so he tries something smaller – a bird. In very few words, Ole Konnecke captures the feeling of childhood, and the sense of great possibility that abounds there. The illustrations are humorous and deceptively simple, coloured in a limited palette that also lends a Charlie Brown feeling to the book. This is a very warm and funny book, with a really wonderful ending.
Magpies magazine, www.magpies.net.au, August 2010 –
Anton is convinced he has a magic hat – just pull it over your eyes and you can make things (or more worrying, your friend) disappear.
… a genuinely appealing little story.
Your Weekend, Dominion Post, August 2010 –
Anton Can Do Magic, a picture book translated from German, hilariously captures a young child’s fascination with magic tricks, along with his realisation that ‘magic’ may be illusion, and illusion is a powerful art to harness. The book is rich in dramatic irony. Readers will enjoy knowing what Anton doesn’t during the first part of the book, then at the conclusion, joining with a newly wise Anton in knowing what his friends don’t.
Magpies, July 2010 –
The text is just 175 words spread through thirty pages, but they are the right words. Not only do we learn what we need to know about the characters, but there is even room for one of those ‘Can, Can’t’ arguments in which we all indulged as kids. The pictures, too, are similarly pared down to essentials. Konnecke has used a very simple palette of yellow, orange, brown and white (in fact his work reminded me of Lois Lenski’s back in the days before full colour printing). In most pictures the design is basic – Anton and his large hat, the tree with or without a bird – but there are all sorts of little details to enjoy. Anton, for instance, when he is not making magic, always has to hold his hat out of his eyes, or Luke, at the end of the story looks bored when Anton suggests he will do some magic, but then amazed and enthusiastic when the trick works. This is, just as the publisher promises, a ‘curiously good’ book.
Hawkes Bay Today, June 2010 –
This is a clever little book that
children will love. It would be a
good read-aloud story, although
children could read it
independently as there is some
repetition. Anton has a magic hat
so he tries to make a tree
disappear. Oops, the tree is still
there. Perhaps the tree is too
large? Anton tries to make a bird
disappear. It works!
He makes Luke disappear (or
does he?). A fun story children
will enjoy with simple words and
sentences. Good, bold pictures that
are not fussy and involved, but fit
well with the story. Worth a look.
Taranaki Daily News, April 2010 –
Actually, the author/illustrator can do magic and create a simple, satisfying story for littlies from around 18 months onwards. Just 171 words across 30 pages, it is deceptively simple, but that should not detract from the skill in making such a restrained package both child-centred and charming for adult readers. Anton’s magic hat cannot make a tree disappear, nor indeed his friend Luke, though Anton thinks it can. But his hat can make Greta’s bird disappear and reappear. The pictures are wonderfully simple and dominated by a cheerful old gold colour. The text is equally simple and the story is confined, satisfying and entirely appropriate for very young and small people.
Weekend Herald, April 2010 –
By keeping the illustrations and text simple but effective, Konnecke produces a charming and funny tale about a boy who believes he has magic powers because of the wondrous turban he is wearing. That the hat is too big for him and keeps slipping over his eyes creates situations where he believes he’s making animals and people disappear. Despite its minimal approach, this book is ripe with themes of reality, imagination, possibility and self-awareness.
Swings & Roundabouts, March 2010 –
What is wonderful about this book is that, although the reader can see what ‘really’ happens, the characters’ perception that Anton can do magic is never challenged. As far as they are concerned, he really can! It’s a lovely representation of the interplay between fantasy and reality that makes children’s play such an important part of development. The illustrations are all in warm red and yellow tones, and the text manages to convey an excellent story and sense of humour in very few words. Likely to be a favourite with two- to three-year-olds.
Tomorrow’s Schools Today, March 2010 –
Anton wants to be a magician; he has a magic hat but is that enough to make things disappear? A tree proves too big, but a bird works much better, then when he makes his friend Luke disappear he realises he doesn’t really want to make him disappear. How can Anton get Luke back, and where has he gone?
This is a funny and enjoyable tale for young readers, with plenty of twists. The illustrations complement the story perfectly and show the secrets to Anton’s `magic’. The final twist is particularly good as it has his friends thinking maybe Anton is a magician after all.
The illustrations are reminiscent of the Peanuts cartoons and the story is delightfully simple while containing plenty of surprises.
Australian Women’s Weekly, March 2010 –
Anton has a magic hat. A real one. But when he makes his friend Luke vanish, he grows worried. How will he bring Luke back? A charming and humorous book with beautiful illustrations reminiscent of Charlie Brown.
The Children’s Bookshop Kilbirnie, March 2010 –
Anton wants to be a magician and make things disappear. So with his magic turban, just like the one in the poster worn by Sorkar, the world’s greatest magician, he starts by trying to make a tree vanish. It is too big, but his magic does work on a little bird and then, amazingly, on his friend Luke. But where did they go and what happens when he wants them back? This is another utterly beguiling, simply told, child-centred book that tickles and entertains the reader. …From Wellington’s equally beguiling publisher Gecko Press.
Story Time Books for Kids, February 2010 –
Another classic of simplicity in story-telling, by Ole Konnecke, and the usual wonderful production values from Gecko Press. This is another one of those books whose author appears to have a direct line to the way children think (or the way we think they might think!) Anton has a magic hat. He tries to make a tree disappear, but on finding it still there decides it must be too big. So, pulling his magic hat down over his eyes, he tries to make a bird vanish, and when he lifts his hat, the bird has gone. When Luke appears he tries the same trick, and Luke vanishes as well (from Anton’s perspective. The reader sees him walk away behind Anton, just as the reader has seen the bird fly away while Anton was blindfolded by his hat.) But then the bird reappears, and Anton wonders if he’s turned Luke into a bird, so he puts his magic hat over the bird. When the girls appear, with Luke, Greta’s bird has gone. Anton puts his hat back on his head and then makes the bird appear by taking it off again. Wow! Impressive! The last page shows Luke trying to imitate Anton’s hand movements. Very few words, and simple but evocative illustrations make this another classic of the Gecko style, taking a successful European (in this case) book and translating so that we monolingual kiwis have access to it. Beautifully simple; simply beautiful.