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Cousin Of All Book Tests Review

Official Review

December 5th, 2006 4:00pm
Reviewed by David Parr
There has lately been a flood of book tests into the magic marketplace. After examining the instructions and central prop included with “The Cousin of All Book Tests,” the phrase that immediately springs to mind is “ill-conceived.”

The purchaser receives a six-by-nine-inch paperback book that has been custom printed to form a peek book. The book bears a title and author’s name no one has ever heard of because no such book or author exists. The instructions are a mess. At one point they indicate that the performer should hold the book “above eye level as pictured.” But there’s no picture. And that’s not the only thing missing from the instructions. Conspicuously absent is the name of the man who invented the method upon which this product is based. Dan Tong and his “Peek-a-Book” are never mentioned.

Sloppiness isn’t limited to the instructions. The main difference between “The Cousin of All Book Tests” and Dan Tong’s original version is that the original was easier to handle, owing to the fact that the information to be gleaned from the book was readily accessible. In “The Cousin of All Book Tests” the information is in an odd position, which makes the handling awkward and unnatural. To make matters worse, some of the information is printed in such a way that, in order to see it, one must open the book almost to the spine! The performer who actually manages to sneak a peek is sometimes rewarded with the word “nothing” or “blank,” indicating that the audience assistant looked at a page with no text on it. Think about this for a moment. This book was specially printed. The producers of this product had complete control of the text. But they chose to print it in a way that makes the prop difficult to use and they left in blank pages when they could have filled the pages with text. (I also noticed one instance in which the information was misprinted, placing another potential roadblock in the performer’s path.)

The instructions suggest that, after having a word memorized, the performer should send the audience assistant back to his or her seat with the book. The urge to examine the book will be almost impossible for that person to resist, which may present a problem because the producers of this product didn’t bother to clean up the text. It looks as if it was copied from a plain-text file downloaded from the Internet (which, of course, it was). But more importantly, the method for this effect is not hidden or buried in the text; it’s visible with even a cursory glance at the pages.

There is another book-test method built into “The Cousin of All Book Tests,” this one borrowed from Max Maven’s “Autome.” (In this case, Max is actually credited in the instructions.) For those unfamiliar with Max’s effect, it uses recognizable books, available in any bookstore, as “natural” force books. Why anyone would consider performing an effect as clever as “Autome” with a hinky-looking prop that half-resembles a real book is unfathomable to me, considering that it can be performed with a genuine, examinable bestseller”a book that can be given away as a souvenir.

“The Cousin of All Book Tests” can be purchased for $55. Have you received the word I’ve been telepathically sending to you? That’s right, the word is .Don’t.
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Product info for Cousin Of All Book Tests

Author: Leaping Lizards Magic
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $55.00
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Manufacturer's Description:

Welcome to the first volume in what is planned to be a three volume set of specialty force books/book tests. It combines various elements of things that have gone before in a way that has not been done before.

There are two basic effects possible with this book.

The book itself, a normal looking novel, can be forced from a stack of others, or you can order several and recover them (We will be releasing other versions and titles with the SAME force pages and phrases at a later date) If you wish to use the Chuck Hickock Subtlety this is also a good book to include.

Effect One: A Vision!
The performer invites a spectator to "freely" select a book from several. They leaf through the book and note how many pages it has. Nest, five spectators are asked to jot any number from 1- 400, the number of pages in this book, on a note pad. Those page numbers are handed to the spectator with the book, who is asked to SILENTLY, mentally, open to any of those pages, and silently read the top line or two of the text on that page, starting with the very first word. The performer gets an impression and draws a picture of that. When the first line is read, it is found to match the prediction! This can be repeated if desired, or done with several different spectators.

This effect is similar to Max Maven's Autome, but uses a different book and offers 6 different force phrases, rather than one. (Note, we offer a different procedure than Autome to make this work, and we suggest you invest in Max maven's DVD to find out the clean elegant method HE uses- along with the original book used.) The original natural force book used for Autome, as well as similar force books in the past, typically only allowed for one force phrase.

This book allows SIX different sets of force phrases so that YOU decide in advance EXACTLY what phrase the spectator will choose. But remember, they MENTALLY choose a page, and SILENTLY read it- but before they ever open the page, you will KNOW what they are thinking. This can be used as a prediction OR a mind reading effect.

Effect Two: Peek A Thought!
You hold the book up, above eye level of a spectator, and open it to various places, allowing them to PEEK at the first word or words on the bottom line of the page they are looking at. There are about 400 pages in the book, which means the spectator has a 100% FREE choice of over 200 words that they might look at.

You ask them to peek at a few pages and verify each one is different. Then you ask them to peek at a page with the intent of sending a thought to you. The spectator silently reads the word or words that start the last sentence on that page. You invite them to sit down, taking the book with them, and you attempt to divine the word they are thinking of.

This effect is repeatable as often as you care to, with a different outcome each time.

Again, both of these methods have been used before in years gone by, but never have they been combined in a single book. Also, the phrase force used has never been incorporated in such a way as to allow for 6 different outcomes which YOU control. This solves the problem of what to do if there is a good chance some of the same spectators may see your show twice in near succession. It also allows you to have two spectators choose DIFFERENT phrases and reveal them in different ways in a single routine.

The peek revelation, can lead in to the force presentation and/or should the spectator select one of the force pages coincidentally, you can then lead directly in to the phrase revelation effect without having to force a page.

You want options? You GOT options!

The 400 page, soft-cover book bears a bar code, legitimate ISBN number and looks like it was purchased at any book store. The book will withstand average inspection and is a relatively readable novel.

Yes, there are some typesetting and syntactic oddities about it that one MIGHT discover with great scrutiny, and if one is looking for them- but they are not the sort of thing a spectator would discover with normal handling.

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