The Incredible Twisting Arm (Magic Shop Series Book 2)
By Kate Egan with Magician Mike Lane, Illustrated by Eric Wight
Published by: Feiwel & Friends (April 22, 2014)
Available in: hardcover, paperback, Kindle, NOOK
At the time of this review, there were three books in the Magic Shop Series.
The Incredible Twisting Arm is a bit like a magic trick: seemingly simple on the surface, but expert skill provides the firm base underneath.
Both of the authors and the illustrator are journeyman publishing professionals, which explains the intricate storytelling techniques subtly employed. Their combined, adept skills bring together a story and pictures that will intrigue young readers, especially reluctant boys.
The protagonist is fourth-grader Mike, a kid who finds life hard. His friend situation is challenging, including a girl he likes and another girl who annoys him. An older boy, who is big enough to be in middle school, bullies him. Mike’s family worries about his grades. So while the prose might not be exceptionally inventive, kids will easily relate to Mike’s elementary-school world.
But interestingly, Mike is a bit unusual in that he has discovered a passion for magic. Mike doesn’t just like magic, he focuses on it everyday. The reader experiences the allure of tricks, and follows Mike through some successes and failures. Mike also really wants to show himself as responsible and mature enough to be allowed the freedom to ride his bike to the magic shop, alone. That maturity and responsibility stuff turns out to be dicey business, which provides laughs and empathy.
Additional to the book are magic tricks, explained in two-page spreads of text and drawings throughout the book. Who wouldn’t want to know how to turn water into ice or palm a coin? The story ends with the added surprise of a (possibly) magic moment.
The book is long for a chapter book, more than 150 pages in the hardcover library book I reviewed. So this is definitely a book for those older chapter book readers, or perhaps precocious younger readers.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….