Simon & Schuster
Age 5-7 years
The audience is waiting for the Great Hypno to perform his amazing magic show. But just before the show is about to start an announcement is made; Messrs Abra and Cadabra, two bunnies, will replace Hypno. Abra and Cadabra thrill the audience with incredible transformations and daring feats but what are they up to when they hypnotise the audience and where is The Great Hypno? A funny and intriguing book with a retro feel, the dastardly scheming rabbit duo make great villains. There is lots to spot in the fabulous illustrations and the paper engineering includes several flaps which are fun to open.
Share the story
Read the story aloud – children will enjoy opening the flaps as they listen to the story and enjoy the illustrations.
Look at the illustrations carefully as you share the book a second time, look carefully for what is happening with The Great Hypno and how he escapes.
When you read the book again children will enjoy joining in with the magic words
Talk about the story
Share favourite pages, talk about which parts of the story are the funniest or strangest
Find any unfamiliar words or phrases and talk about what they might mean –you could look them up together eg ‘escapology’ and ‘sleight of paw’, ‘debut’ and even ‘prestidigitation’ (performing conjuring tricks as entertainment)
Who’s right who’s wrong?
Talk about what the bunnies did and whether children think they are ‘bad bunnies’? Why might they have done it? Was The Great Hypno right to have blasted the bunnies ‘to kingdom come?’
What might happen next – can you think up a new adventure for the bad bunnies?
Karen and her daughters Leia (age 6) and Coco (age 8) tell us about the fun they had sharing the book
We enjoyed reading the book together and Leia had lots of fun joining in with the ‘Hey presto!’ parts of the text whilst opening the flaps. We had a good conversation about how magic tricks might be done 'Brenda isn’t really cut in half mummy, because those are fake legs at the bottom’ and why the goldfish was turned into an octopus instead of being made to disappear - we think the magic words were somehow mixed up. We looked up the meaning of new words we hadn’t read before such as ‘sleight’ and ‘cephalopod’ and even watched some footage of Houdini and other escape artists in order to find out more about escapology.
On our third read, Leia’s older sister Coco joined in and the girls dramatised their favourite part of the story, extending it to an impromptu performance of a magic show of their own: ‘Hey Prenda, half a Brenda!’ Inspired by Abra and Cadabra’s amazing magic tricks, Leia and Coco made their own posters for the story. Coco said this reminded her of another book we’d read about magic: Leon and the Place Between by Angela McAllister and Grahame Baker Smith.
We had lots of fun reading The Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show and the girls thought that Abra and Cadabra weren’t really bad bunnies at all, they just wanted to have some fun doing the magic tricks instead of hiding in the magician’s hat most of the time!
Things to make and do
Play the story – magic show
Children could pretend to be the performers themselves doing one or two of the acts, dressing up, using magic words from the story or making up some of their own (perhaps not the knife throwing!) You could join in perhaps by announcing the acts in the style of the story.
Alternatively children could act out part of the story or have a magic show of their own using soft toys or by making simple puppets – you could improvise a puppet theatre by using a small table covered with a cloth or pin up a blanket across a door way.
Make a theatre card
Fold each side of a piece of A4 paper (landscape position) in to the centre and crease firmly. Children could decorate the outside as if they are theatre curtains, then inside they can draw characters from the story performing one of their acts
Make a poster for a magic show
Children could make their own poster for a magic show with Abra and Cadabra, the Great Hypno – or their own invented magician.
Find out more