This is a picture book about a group of animals and one boy who is not a magician.
Percy screamed out, “A skunk! Oh, no! What am I going to do? I can’t bear the thought of swimming in tomato juice. It would ruin my clothes.”
Leroy, the coolest skunk in Wade County, pushed up his nose and walked on. He didn’t even pause to answer Percy. His boots clunked on the warm cement. His blue tie swung from right to left. He blinked several times, though, for he’d left his sunglasses back in his den.
Percy, the dog, couldn’t stand being ignored. He raised his heavy chest and growled, “You too good to stop and say 'Hello', Leroy?”
Leroy turned to look down at him. “Well, hello, Percy. I almost didn’t see you there. The sun’s so bright, you know.”
Percy wagged his tail. “It feels good on my back. I was just getting a little tan while I waited for Benjamin to come back from delivering papers. He’s going to show me a magic trick.”
“A magic trick? How wonderful! Can I watch?”
Percy wagged his little tail even harder. He was panting a bit, his long, pink tongue dragging on the ground, saliva dripping into puddles. Leroy looked away, not wanting to be rude about staring.
While the two of them were waiting, Joey, the bear, came lumbering by. “Hey, what are you two doing?” he asked in his deep, gravely voice.
“We’re going to watch Benjamin do a magic trick,” Leroy said. “Do you want to stay and watch?”
“A magic trick? I didn’t know Benjamin could do magic. Can he turn himself into a bear -- 'cause there aren't enough of us around, you know, and sometimes I feel as lonely as an empty cavern.”
Percy laughed. “Benjamin doesn't do that kind of magic. He only pulls bunnies out of hats and stuff like that. He can't make you another bear friend.”
“Oh,” said Joey. “I was hoping he could. I'd really like to see him turn into a bear. Then even if it was just for an hour or two we could have a real bear hug wrestling match.” Joey lumbered over to the concrete next to Percy and sat down to wait.
Pretty soon, along came Frank, the pig. “Hey, what are you doing out here?” he wanted to know.
“We’re waiting for Benjamin to do some tricks,” said Joey. “He's going to turn into a rabbit.”
Percy shook his head. “Benjamin can’t turn into a rabbit. I told you. He's going to pull a rabbit out of a hat.”
“Oh,” said Joey. “That’s what I meant.”
Frank wanted to see the rabbit trick, so he sat down on the concrete with the others to wait.
Pretty soon, along came Dorothy, the cat. “I do declare," she said, "It's so hot today, a cow would turn into a pot roast just sitting out here. What are you all doing out in this sun?” she wanted to know.
“We’re waiting for Benjamin,” Percy said quickly before Joey could speak. “He’s going to do a magic trick for us. Do you want to watch?”
Dorothy nodded eagerly, and the animals all scooted over and made room for her on the steps of Benjamin's house. Frank told everybody about the new baby pigs that had just been born down in the sty, and Joey told them about the honey he'd found up in an old, dead tree limb. Then the animals talked about Dorothy's former litter of kittens that had moved gradually from the barn to their own individual homes.
The sun was very hot that day, and the animals all began to feel drowsy. In a few minutes, they grew silent, and one by one, fell asleep.
Not much later, Benjamin came walking up the street. His mouth was pursed into a whistle, and he was holding his brand new rabbit in his arms. He stopped when he saw his friends all sitting on the steps of his porch.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
But no one answered him. They were all asleep.
Benjamin shrugged his shoulders and stepped around them, making his way up the stairs and into his house.
However, in a couple of minutes, he returned, carrying a great big, red tray full of glasses of lemonade. “Anyone thirsty?” he asked.
Percy was the first to wake up. His eyes opened wide. “You did a magic trick,” he said. The others turned and stared at the big dog.
Leroy shook his head to wake himself up. “What magic?” asked Leroy. “I didn’t see anything.”
Frank took a glass off the tray. He took a sip from it and then nodded his head. “Benjamin is a very good magician. I knew that all along.”
“Magician?” said Benjamin. “I don’t know how to do magic.”
“But you did. You magicked yourself into the house. None of us saw you, did we?” Percy said, as he checked with the others.
“No,” said Joey. “I never saw him.”
“I didn’t see him either,” said Dorothy. “Wow!”
“I walked around you,” Benjamin said. “You were all asleep. That’s not magic,” he told them handing a glass of icy lemonade to Dorothy.
“Well, show us some magic, then,” said Joey. “Can you turn into a rabbit, like Percy said?”
“I didn’t say he turned into a bunny. I said he could pull one out of a hat, remember?”
“But I can’t do that either,” Benjamin said, sitting down beside his friends. He put his glass down beside him and scratched at his head, puzzling over the conversation.
“I thought you told me you went to get a rabbit,” said Percy, yawning noisily.
“I did. I bought a little white bunny. He’s in his cage right now, but I can show you later.”
“You mean we’ve been waiting all this time for a magic trick, and Benjamin doesn’t know any?” said Leroy, sticking his nose up in the air and letting out a faint scent of irritation.
Everyone yelled out, "Oooh. Don't do that, Leroy, please!" as they held onto their noses.
“Wait! I do know one trick,” Benjamin said, grinning mischievously.
“What?” demanded Leroy, with a dangerously high tail and a face full of suspicion.
“Well, I can make something disappear,” Benjamin told them. “Would that be magic enough?”
All the animals cheered. “Yes, show us, show us!” they yelled.
“Okay,” Benjamin said, standing up. “Watch.”
Right before their eyes, Benjamin tilted his full glass of lemonade and poured it down his throat.
“Is that all?” oinked Frank. “I can do that, too.”
“Wow,” giggled Dorothy. “That means we can all do a magic trick.”
Leroy smiled and begin to drink his lemonade, and then one by one the other animals made their ice cold lemonade magically disappear.
“We’ll call that “The Great Lemonade Disappearing Act,” said Percy, and they all laughed.
After they were finished, Benjamin collected the glasses, told them more about the new baby bunny, and then invited them in to see his fuzzy, little Susie.