Best friends Monty and Presto may not have much, but it doesn’t matter. They are happy. For this dog-and-cat duo life in the alleyway is good. Monty enjoys singing, eating ice cream, and pulling extremely funny faces, while Presto is a brilliant magician. When a travelling carnival comes to town, the best friends try their luck in the entertainment business. ‘We’ll put on a magic show and become famous!’ says Monty. ‘And we won’t be poor and smelly any more.’ The show is a huge success and fame and fortune beckon, but then stardom goes to Monty’s head. When the dog becomes bossy, rude and demanding, his friend Presto walks out of the show, leaving Monty in the lurch with a magic act that is no longer magic. Will Monty realise how much he needs Presto before it’s too late?
Nadia Shireen’s second picture book, following Good Little Wolf, is full of fun. The witty illustrations are delightfully quirky and droll, from the television exec with his contract and swag bag labelled Cold Hard Cash, to Monty in his starry phase, all snooty downward glances and whimsical demands (‘Hey, Presto! Get me chocolate ice-cream with extra sprinkles – now!’). The message about friendship will ring true to children who have experienced being over-shadowed by a more gregarious play-mate, but applies equally well to those learning how to share toys and attention.