Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Magic Shop: The Vanishing Coin by Kate Egan with Magician Mike Lane, illustrated by Eric Wight

I will admit that I rather had to push myself through this book, but I think it's one of those that will definitely appeal to children, and not so much to an adult reader, which is no bad thing for a children's book.

Mike has just started fourth grade and he's already in trouble. It's not that he's a bad kid, he just can't focus or sit still in school. His parents won't let him join the soccer team because they want him to concentrate on his homework, and he has to spend half his afternoons at Nora's house. She's not bad, for a girl, but what if someone finds out? Like Jackson, who has bullied him all through school? Plus, she's gifted and he feels stupid around her.

Then they discover a magic shop. Will Mike be able to impress some kids with his magic tricks? Best of all, is there more to magic than just the tricks the owner is teaching him?

Wight's digital black and white illustrations are crisp and attractive and are really clear in illustrating the instructions for various magic tricks that are included in the book. Reading the story, it felt a little didactic and slow-paced, and I was thinking - "it's at a beginning chapter book but it's about a fourth grader so..." until I realized that it's going to appeal exactly to kids like Mike, who won't want to read a massive book, want something they can relate to, and need a fun hook.

So, it's got all of those things. It's only 142 pages long, with nice bold text in a large font and illustrations. Not daunting at all for a reluctant reader. It's going to appeal to kids who want to read stories about kids they can relate to, since it doesn't feature kids improbably taking off on their own or a stereotyped bully. Finally, it's got hooks - the magic tricks and the hints about magic being real.

Verdict: If your library is like mine, you have a lot of kids interested in magic tricks. This will meet the desires of both the kids and their parents, who want them to read chapter books. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781250029140; Published 2014 by Feiwel & Friends; Borrowed from another library in my consortium; Added to the library's order list

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