Good things always seem to come out of Canada and Hocus Pocus by Sylvie Desrosiers and Remy Simard is one of those. Yes, the creators live in Quebec, but don’t let the very French Canadian sounding names worry you, this book doesn’t lose anything in translation. It doesn’t need one. Hocus Pocus has absolutely no words other than a few comic appropriate sound effects.
Told in a five to six panels per page format, Hocus Pocus is the story of a rabbit — who the fly leaf of the book tells us is the aforementioned Hocus Pocus — and the mischief he causes. Hocus Pocus belongs to Mister Magic the magician. Reminiscent of the also wordless Tom and Jerry cartoons, Hocus Pocus’ attempts to be sneaky are thwarted by Dog, Mister Magic’s canine. Though Dog is more like Tom than Spike, which leaves Hocus Pocus to be a cousin to Jerry. If you are not familiar with the still popular cartoon, let me explain. Jerry was a mouse who would attempt to sneak into the kitchen to steal food. Tom was the cat who would try to stop Jerry, but always got caught in what seemed like a red-handed moment by the human owner. Yup, you see where this is going.
Mister Magic and Dog have just arrived back from the store with their groceries. Rather than put the vegetables in the fridge, Mister Magic leaves them sitting on the kitchen counter. He then proceeds to put on his headphones and take a nap. This is joined by Dog who is also quickly fast asleep. Out pops Hocus Pocus from his home in Mister Magic’s hat. He spies the carrots sitting in their bucket on the counter. Remembering previous encounters with Dog, he knows he needs to be quiet and puts on his slippers. However, if you were paying attention you saw what could possible be potato chips or maybe peanuts on the floor. Either way, the loud crunch as Hocus Pocus steps on them is enough to wake Dog. Though he tries to hide, Dog is wise to Hocus Pocus’ tricks and stops various attempts to get to the kitchen. However, that doesn’t stop Hocus Pocus from his quest to be victorious as he keeps trying to outwit Dog. (Don’t forget that reference to Tom and Jerry!).
The illustrations are perfect for the story as they resemble those of comic cartoons that could be found on Cartoon Network (Think Powerpuff Girls). It has a vintage appeal while still being current. Each panel clearly illustrates the needed emotion and information needed to follow the story. This book is a perfect starting point for early readers who are beginning to show an interest in comic books. It could also be a fun book for sharing as children can easily comprehend the basics of the story’s plot to tell in their own way.
by Sylvie Desrosiers and Remy Simard
Kids Can Press, 2011
Publisher Age Rating: 3-7