Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Vanishing Coin

Booklist (April 1, 2014 (Vol. 110, No. 15))

Grades 3-5. So far, fourth grade is not the fresh start Mike wanted. Despite new “strategies,” he still cannot sit quietly in class. Worse, he now spends every afternoon with Nora, his academically gifted new neighbor, from whom he couldn’t be more different. Whereas Nora succeeds at everything, Mike feels like he’s a constant failure. That is, until they stumble on a strange magic store, and the owner teaches Mike—and only Mike—a magic trick. Soon he’s hooked and practicing all kinds of tricks to impress his friends and confound the class bully. Yet he wonders if all the magic in the shop is just an illusion. Could some of it be real? The slightly older protagonist, ample line spacing, cartoon illustrations, and accessible vocabulary make this a good choice for middle-grade students reading slightly below grade level. And if the quick pace, well-developed characters, and humor-laced story aren’t enough, Lane, a magician himself, and Egan include instructions for four simple tricks. A solid new series for school and public-library collections.


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