Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Zabee Zabee Doo

Zabee Zabee Doo by Jim Baghdadi,  illustrated by Emma Stuart (Little Steps Publishing)
PB RRP $12.95
ISBN – 9781921928963
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

When Adam and his brother Ryan, “the adventurous of the pair” search for a lost football, they pull an old plaque off the wall in the park in Coogee. Not only does half the wall crumble but reading the words on the plaque opens a portal. Ryan suddenly becomes less adventurous and it’s Adam who drags a trembling Ryan into the other side. Once in a new world Adam is the adventurous one and Ryan takes a little time to enjoy the journey that Adam seems delighted to be on. Why the change? Adam’s fallen for a Princess!

Adam introduces himself and Ryan as princes and Cassandra, the princess, says her people have been waiting for them to save them from the Brunkies, zombies formed by a wicked wizard. Learning that the words on the plaque give him power, Ryan is brave again, and is sure he can save Cassandra’s people. Stakes rise when they learn that the town’s people are now being turned into Brunkies. And the magic powers are tricky. They don’t let Ryan simply transport the three of them across the crocodile infested river.

Fortunately they happen to come along two boys, Theodore and Christopher, and the power does let Ryan turn them into giants. Putting his bottom in the water Theodore “then farted” putting so much wind in the water that huge waves wash the crocodiles onto the banks and the characters can continue. Not wishing to miss footy training, or cause their father any worry, Adam urges Ryan to hurry on and use the power to turn the “townies” back into their proper form, thereby saving their kingdom.

A further rise in tension comes when Brunkies begin to overrun the place but the magic words, from the plaque, Zabee Zabee Doo, are enough to transform the townies back and Ryan is the hero. At story’s end the boys return to Coogee to kick the football around the park. Each of the nine chapters begins with a full page colour picture that helps readers visualise the setting. Told over forty-seven pages the story moves very quickly and is suited to primary school ages 7-11 finding their feet with chapter books.

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