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Amazing Magic Tricks Review

Official Review

May 2nd, 2015 2:18pm
Reviewed by Dr. J. M. Ayala de Cedoz
What you have here is a pretty good book for young beginning or aspiring magicians. The book is perfect bound (glued binding) with a heavy glossy paperback cover and the pages are printed on gloss and matte paper. The book itself is great quality.

The drawings are very colorful and quite cartoon-like, thus oriented towards younger kids.

The material in the book is comprised of "standard beginner" material using sleight of hand, a few of them depend on cunning linguistics and the rest are your typical math and science-based "magic tricks". You know the old stand-bys that you did as a kid like picking up an ice cube with a string and the one where you cause pepper floating in a bowl of water to scatter when you dip your finger in it.

The effects are split into 6 categories and there are 53 effects in all. The categories are comprised of Table Tricks, Comedy Magic, Magical Escapes (No, not actual escape magic such as performed by Harry Houdini), Magical Illusions, Brain Games and Number Magic.

As an avid reader and collector of magic books (and books in general) I was familiar with almost all of the effects in the book and there were some pretty clever items in this book. The descriptions for each effect were short but very clear, for the most part. I will address the "for the most part" point in a bit.

There were just a few things I had a problem with in this tome. They are as follows:

It was a little hard to tell the exact target range of ages for whom this book was intended. Most of the items were things that 5, 6 or 7 year olds could easily do with some practice, but there were others, when coupled with the descriptions* for those particular items, seemed to be aimed at children ages 10 or above. If you have younger children reading and learning from this book, they may require the help of an adult to comprehend the description or to understand what exactly needs to happen. This is not a bad thing - just something I feel you should be aware of if you are purchasing this for kids under 7.

Some of the descriptions in the book read like they were written by/for a left-hander, which if that was the case, I would like to have seen a note about this so people would be aware of that. Again, this is not a bad thing but right-handed kids reading this may find it difficult to understand something because it would be the opposite way of doing things than they are used to. If you or your child is right-handed and find this to be an issue for those particular effects, you only need to mirror the illustrations in the book.

The last thing I had an issue with was that there were two effects requiring the use of a knife. One required a butter knife for one of the old stand-by effects and the other required a sharper knife to cut open an orange. Given the younger age range of kids that this book was obviously intended for, there should have been a note in those descriptions for the younger ones to ask an adult for help when using knives.

*Again, the descriptions of all of the effects in the book were relatively short but thorough enough for what was being explained. It was NOT that aspect that I had the issue with but rather, sometimes they used terminology which would be unfamiliar to many beginning readers, especially younger kids. For this reason, I wish they had included even a cursory "dictionary" page to describe what some of those terms mean. In this case, I am referring to terms like "spectator" and "flourish" and other magic-related and not-so-common words.

All in all this is a solid book for young beginners and the publisher has been a mainstay publisher for the magic community for many years. They are well respected for putting out quality books with quality material at an affordable price and in my opinion, they stayed true to that.

4.5 stars.

Product info for Amazing Magic Tricks

Author: David Mostyn, Thomas Canavan
Publisher: Dover
Average Rating:  (1)
Retail Price: $9.99
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Manufacturer's Description:

Make coins disappear, bend spoons, and read through sealed envelopes! Anyone can be a magician with the help of this guide, which explains how to perform mystifying sleight-of-hand maneuvers and feats of mental agility with playing cards and common household items. Humorously illustrated, step-by-step directions explain the magic behind dozens of captivating tricks.

A Dover co-edition.

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