Leaving no square inch of page space unpurposed, the latest in the ’Ology series wraps directions for over two dozen simple sleight-of-hand tricks in thick skeins of history and mystery.
This outing is intended both to give budding prestidigitators a starting kit and to fill them in on their avocation’s basic principles and greatest early practitioners. Each heavily, atmospherically illustrated spread is packed with topically related disquisitions on subjects from optical illusions to how Hofzinser, Thurston, Robert-Houdin and other iconic figures of the 19th and early 20th centuries performed some of their most awesome, elaborately staged feats. Though properly warned away from trying sword swallowing, ox decapitation and like hazardous pursuits themselves, readers are encouraged to tackle the step directions for (reasonably) easy hidden coin and other small-scale tricks. These are offered in booklets or hidden beneath flaps and, often, accompanied by envelopes or folders that hold modified (but smaller than standard-size) playing cards, plastic widgets and other helpful—if easy to lose—items. The series’ high-bandwidth website offers additional tricks and entertainments.
Though most of professional magic’s last 100 years pull a vanishing act, a beguiling mix of wonders and practical advice. (bibliography, many detachable or already detached pieces) (Novelty/nonfiction. 10 & up)