Picture book review for toddlers: ‘Abracadabra’
The picture book ‘Abracadabra’ is a fairytale story about a wizard, written and illustrated by the couple Ingrid and Dieter Schubert. In the story, the animals in the forest devise a trick to teach the wizard Macrobius, who has bewitched all the animals, a lesson. Would they manage to restore peace to the Sporkelbos? The humorous illustrations will in any case provide the necessary happy moments while reading this book.
The picture book
- Title: Abracadabra
- Author: Ingrid and Dieter Schubert
- illustrations: Ingrid and Dieter Schubert
- Publisher: Lemniscaat
- Year of publication: 1996
- Number of pages: 26 pages
- Genre: children’s books, picture books, fairytales
- Age: from about 4 years old
Ingrid and Dieter Schubert are originally from Germany. Dieter even comes from East Germany, from where he fled to the west with his parents in the 1970s. In Germany they followed various courses in the field of art. At the end of the seventies they received a scholarship for foreign countries and then started at the Rietveld Academy Amsterdam to learn everything about graphic techniques and later about making illustrations. Their first book ‘There is a crocodile under my bed’ is the graduation assignment of this academy. After that many others will follow.
Ingrid and Dieter use different mixing techniques for their illustrations, such as colored pencil, watercolor, soft pastel, acrylic and ink. The illustrations still start with pencil drawings, because they believe that you ‘should be able to feel a real drawing!’. They only use the computer for fun.
Other picture books by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert
Ingrid and Dieter Schubert have made many more picture books, such as:
- There’s a crocodile under my bed (1980)
- Flat Foot (1985)
- Monkie (1986)
- Who Is Not Strong … (1989)
- Furious Willem (1992)
- From Mosquito to Elephant (1994)
- A hole in my emmaer (1998)
- That’s Coming of It (1999)
- Together We Can Do Anything (2000)
- There is more to add (2001)
- Crocodile’s birthday (2005)
- Ophelia (2008)
- Elephant soup (2009)
- The Umbrella (2010)
- Just Crazy (2012)
- Maurits Mouse (2014)
- Cheering Bird (2015)
- Save Everything for a Party (2016)
- Boy looking for a boyfriend (2016)
- We are tigers (2016)
- Rabbit Tango (2017)
Description of the story ‘Abracadabra’
Wizard Macrobius has cast a spell on all the animals in the forest. Because of this, each animal has received a limb from another animal. For example, the bear has a pig’s nose and the frog has butterfly wings. The animals no longer take it and try to devise a ruse to get back the wizard Macrobius. The little hedgehog eventually comes up with a good idea: disguised as a forest witch, the animal scare the wizard Macrobius. The ruse works and Macrobius promises to conjure all animals back. If they want that themselves of course.
Description of the illustrations
The illustrations are detailed and complement the story, enhancing the humorous aspects of this picture book. This is how the Sporkel forest, the castle, the wizard and the animals that live in the forest come to life. It also shows how the animals look after being enchanted by Macrobius. A number of illustrations are real search plates, on which the wizard Macrobius has been given a hiding place.
Because of all these details, there is always something different for children to see and the book will not get boring quickly. And anyone who has read a story by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert before will notice that now and then characters from other books by the writer couple pass by, such as the witch from Flatfoot.
Humorous children’s book with a touch of moral
This classic among the picture books shows a funny story, from which there is also something to learn: what is funny to you does not have to be so funny to the other and together we are strong. Subjects that are certainly still topical today. However, the moral is not too emphatically present, which makes this a very funny book to read with toddlers (and also slightly older children).
The detailed illustrations complement the story and enhance its humorous aspects. Without the illustrations, the book is not nearly as funny. For example, children feast on the frog with butterfly wings and fox with goose feet. The story really comes to life and all the details ensure that you never get bored in this book. Every time you see something new and sometimes you really have to look closely to find the wizard in the illustrations, for example because he is hidden behind a tree. That makes it extra fun for children and also a bit exciting to view the book.
The happy ending of the story will certainly be satisfying for children of this age: for a moment something goes wrong, then we solve it together and then we all play on peacefully. Very recognizable from the children’s quarrels in the kindergarten schoolyard.
In short, a beautifully illustrated story with a substantive message that can be enjoyed again and again.