Cover image for Three magic balls
Three magic balls
Egielski, Richard.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Laura Geringer Book/HarperCollins, 2000.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
After an old woman sells three unusual balls to the owner of the toy shop where Rudy works, she gives him a golden whistle that comes in very handy when the balls lead him on a magical adventure.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.7 0.5 43564.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



When Uncle Dinkleschmidt buys three rubber balls for his toy store, it's up to Rudy to take very good care of them. But as soon as he is left alone in the shop, Rudy discovers that these are no ordinary balls, and that's when the magic begins. . .

Author Notes

Illustrator, Richard Egielski was born in New York City on July 16, 1952. He studied at Parson's School of Design. He also studied the art of picture books with Maurice Sendak.

He was the winner of the 1987 Caldecott Medal for his illustrations in Hey, Al by Arthur Yorinks. He wrote and illustrated Buz and Jazper which were chosen as New York Times Best Illustrated Books for Children. Other books illustrated by Egielski include The Tub People and The Tub Grandfather by Pam Conrad.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4^-7. An old lady brings three rubber balls with brightly painted faces into Uncle Dinkleschmidt's magic shop. Young Rudy watches as Uncle buys them--and also gets a golden whistle to keep them under control. As in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," the young assistant experiments after his boss leaves and things get out of hand. Soon the balls have become the size of balloon men in Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, looking like demented versions of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee as they bounce down the street, blow past buildings, and even bring down a plane. They continue to cause a commotion until Rudy remembers the whistle, which brings the balls back to the shop seconds before Uncle returns. The slim story counts heavily on the excitement generated by the art, and, happily, Egielski's pictures don't disappoint. They have an old-fashioned feel reminiscent of 1940s funny papers. The normalcy of their vintage New York City setting is disrupted by fatsos, red, blue, and gold, floating in the sky and twisting into odd shapes, until they finally turn back into themselves, Cheshire cat grins the only hint of the high jinks. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Although a jewel-bright palette and urban setting give this book a contemporary look, its fantasy plot offers more than a hint of old-fashioned enchantment. The tale's anachronistic center is "Uncle Dinkleschmidt's rare and antique toy shop," where nephew Rudy helps with chores. One day, a mysterious woman in a pointed hat walks into the wood-paneled store to sell an unusual trio of ballsÄone red, one yellow and one blueÄwith mischievous faces. Then she "placed a gold whistle in [Rudy's] hand and disappeared, right on the spot!" When Uncle Dinkleschmidt leaves on an errand, Rudy opens the cabinet and releases the balls, which expand into three Tweedle-Dum figures and spring right out the door; Rudy sits piggyback on one rotund form, momentarily forgetting the gold whistle in his pocket. In lucidly colorful, action-packed spreads, Egielski (Jazper) mingles Old Country flavor, vaudeville hijinks and modern architecture. At street level, pedestrians and caf‚ diners dive out of the way of the balloon-like escapees; a few stories up, window washers and rooftop sitters follow the bouncing balls. Egielski's boy hero and seat-of-the-pants antics suggest Maurice Sendak's wild rides, until an uninspired conclusion (the rubbery protagonists must stop a plane crash) forces the story down to earth. Egielski approaches the art and narration with boundless energy, while keeping the suspense well within the comfort zone. Ages 3-7. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Young Rudy works part-time at Uncle Dinkleschmidt's rare-and-antique toy shop. One afternoon, an old woman comes by with some rubber balls to sell: "They're too much trouble for me," she claims. Uncle Dinkleschmidt buys them and sets them on a shelf while Rudy takes a gold whistle the woman offers. A bit later, a simple action-who can resist bouncing a rubber ball?-results in a magical flight for the boy, accompanied by three large, round rubber men, and the rescue of an airplane about to crash. The conclusion encourages readers to imagine further adventures. This colorful urban world is a bit less gritty than that in Egielski's wonderful The Gingerbread Boy (HarperCollins, 1997); here he has tempered it with a German fairy-tale look (especially in the old lady's appearance, with her pointy hat and bright green clogs). While the story is fun, the progression of events doesn't have the absolute conviction or emotional resonance that the best fantasy requires. Still, Rudy is an active and appealing hero, the rubber men (big babies like Maurice Sendak's bakers from In the Night Kitchen [HarperCollins, 1996]) are powerful yet comically unwieldy, and the artwork is great. The dynamic compositions, soft bright colors, and strong and supple lines are all first-rate. The figures have the look of real substance, and the action has the look of real motion, both wonderful things to accomplish on a flat page.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.